Religious Leader Calls On High-End Designer To Pull ‘Insensitive’ $2,000 Leather Yoga Mat

(MONEY SHARMA/AFP via Getty Images)

Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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The leader of a Hindu group is calling on Louis Vuitton to apologize for a cowhide leather yoga mat the fashion designer is selling for more than $2,000, the Associated Press reported.

Rajan Zed, the president of the Nevada-based Universal Society of Hinduism, said that the mat was offensive because it fuses yoga and cowhide leather. Hindus are vegetarians and consider the cow to be a sacred symbol that should be protected. (RELATED: Designer In France Apologizes After Mexican Government Accuses Her Of Stealing Their Traditions)

“The scenario of yoga — a profound, sacred and ancient discipline introduced and nourished by Hinduism — being performed on a mat made from a killed cow is painful,” Zed said, according to the AP.

The yoga mat is out of stock as of this writing but was selling for $2,390 and comes “detailed with luxurious House signatures, including natural cowhide leather details.”

Zed is calling on Louis Vuitton executives to apologize for the “hugely insensitive” product, which he said appropriated sacred elements of Hinduism and mocked them. 

Louis Vuitton “should not be in the business of religious appropriation, sacrilege, mocking serious spiritual practices and ridiculing entire communities,” he told the AP. He also called on the designer to adhere to its corporate code of conduct, which includes an “unyielding commitment to strong values in terms of ethics, social responsibility, and respect for the environment,” according to the designer’s site

The Universal Society of Hinduism has led efforts to acknowledge Hindu holidays and practices, including earlier in 2020, when Zed pushed schools to give students the Diwali holiday off because of the number of Hindu students at certain school districts. 

In July, Zed joined an interfaith coalition to push nightclubs in the U.S. to stop using sacred Buddhist and Hindu statues that “belong in temples for veneration” in their facilities. The coalition also urged Brahma, the world’s largest beer brewer, to change its name because it represents a Hindu god.