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Fashion Designer Kalinkin’s case – freedom of expression

2014 / 10 / 14 Tags: ,

“This story created a huge impact and, in my opinion, will have an even greater impact in the future. For me, the case itself is not a matter of principle, it’s a way to create precedent and raise important questions for society. Meanwhile, I can only summarize the case tongue-in-cheek – if Jesus is everywhere, why can’t he be in our advertisements?”

– Fashion designer Robertas Kalinkinas


Proceedings initiated: 2014

Proceedings closed: the case is pending

Case in brief: Lithuanian fashion designer was fined 579 EUR for inappropriate use of religious symbols in his advertising campaign


Facts of the case:

In fall 2012, fashion designer Robertas Kalinkinas launched an advertising campaign of his new clothing line. The advertising posters aesthetically depicted attractive young men dressed in clothes from Mr. Kalinkinas’s line and bore slogans saying, “Jesus, what are your pants like!”, “Dear Mary, what a dress!” and “Jesus, Mary, what are you wearing!”.

However, in the fall of 2012, the State Non-Food Inspectorate declared that the aforementioned advertisements used religious symbols in a disrespectful and inappropriate manner, and as such could be seen as an insult to public dignity and integrity. With reference to these conclusions, the State Consumer Protection Authority ruled that the advertisements violated the public morals provision of the Law on Advertising and imposed a fine of 579 EUR.

roberto-kalinkino-kolekcijos-reklama-544df0a1f3d0c

Roberto Kalinkino drabužių kolekcijos reklama

Legal proceedings

The designer appealed the fine to the court, but his claim was dismissed. Among other evidence, the court took into consideration a letter signed by 100 believers, submitted to the court by the Lithuanian Bishop’s Conference, where it was claimed that the advertisement in question offended their sensibilities.

The appellate court upheld the lower court’s judgment finding that religious symbols were depicted in the ads “in the improper way”. Such depiction was not in line “with the values of morality and Christian faith” and hence it failed to honour the sacred nature of the symbols.

In October 2014, acting in the interest of Robertas Kalinkinas, the Human Rights Monitoring Institute submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights arguing unnecessary and disproportionate restriction of freedom of expression. The application was submitted in the case of “Sekmadienis UAB v Lithuania”. Sekmadienis UAB were commissioned by the designer to organize the presentation of his 2013 spring/summer line, for which the aforementioned advertising campaign was prepared. The ECtHR’s admissibility decision is pending.

Fashion Designer Kalinkin’s case – freedom of expression

2014 / 10 / 14 Tags: ,

“This story created a huge impact and, in my opinion, will have an even greater impact in the future. For me, the case itself is not a matter of principle, it’s a way to create precedent and raise important questions for society. Meanwhile, I can only summarize the case tongue-in-cheek – if Jesus is everywhere, why can’t he be in our advertisements?”

– Fashion designer Robertas Kalinkinas


Proceedings initiated: 2014

Proceedings closed: the case is pending

Case in brief: Lithuanian fashion designer was fined 579 EUR for inappropriate use of religious symbols in his advertising campaign


Facts of the case:

In fall 2012, fashion designer Robertas Kalinkinas launched an advertising campaign of his new clothing line. The advertising posters aesthetically depicted attractive young men dressed in clothes from Mr. Kalinkinas’s line and bore slogans saying, “Jesus, what are your pants like!”, “Dear Mary, what a dress!” and “Jesus, Mary, what are you wearing!”.

However, in the fall of 2012, the State Non-Food Inspectorate declared that the aforementioned advertisements used religious symbols in a disrespectful and inappropriate manner, and as such could be seen as an insult to public dignity and integrity. With reference to these conclusions, the State Consumer Protection Authority ruled that the advertisements violated the public morals provision of the Law on Advertising and imposed a fine of 579 EUR.

roberto-kalinkino-kolekcijos-reklama-544df0a1f3d0c

Roberto Kalinkino drabužių kolekcijos reklama

Legal proceedings

The designer appealed the fine to the court, but his claim was dismissed. Among other evidence, the court took into consideration a letter signed by 100 believers, submitted to the court by the Lithuanian Bishop’s Conference, where it was claimed that the advertisement in question offended their sensibilities.

The appellate court upheld the lower court’s judgment finding that religious symbols were depicted in the ads “in the improper way”. Such depiction was not in line “with the values of morality and Christian faith” and hence it failed to honour the sacred nature of the symbols.

In October 2014, acting in the interest of Robertas Kalinkinas, the Human Rights Monitoring Institute submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights arguing unnecessary and disproportionate restriction of freedom of expression. The application was submitted in the case of “Sekmadienis UAB v Lithuania”. Sekmadienis UAB were commissioned by the designer to organize the presentation of his 2013 spring/summer line, for which the aforementioned advertising campaign was prepared. The ECtHR’s admissibility decision is pending.