A Hindu statesman is calling on Pharrell Williams and Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted to rename their collaborative Holi-themed shoe collection, calling it culturally insensitive.
Rajan Zed, the outspoken president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, said the collection is a “trivialization of traditions-concepts-symbols-beliefs of Hinduism.”
The Holi collection features 12 shoes inspired by the Hindu spring festival of colours, featuring a pastel colour palette and Hindu symbols. Adidas marketing materials for the collection feature Williams on his first trip to India as he participates in the colourful annual festival.
“Pharrell Williams and Adidas should have done some homework before taking Hinduism concepts frivolously and using these to make a fashion statement and sell shoes for mercantile greed, some of which contain leather,” Zed released in a statement posted to his website.
Earlier this month, Zed successfully petitioned Amazon to remove stockings featuring Hindu deity Lord Ganesha from the site.
Williams and Adidas have not responded to Zed’s open letter at this time.