One of the most coveted global fashion designer houses, Gucci, landed itself in a soup earlier this year, after it used a turban as a fashion accessory for one of its shows. That the brand’s Fall 2018 collection at the Milan Fashion Week in February featured models wearing turbans irked the Sikh community and subsequently generated a debate on social media. “Dear @gucci, the Sikh Turban is not a hot new accessory for white models but an article of faith for practising Sikhs. Your models have used Turbans as ‘hats’ whereas practising Sikhs tie them neatly fold-by-fold. Using fake Sikhs/Turbans is worse than selling fake Gucci products.” wrote Harjinder Singh Kukreja, a Twitter user.
Interestingly, soon after in May, the prestigious Met Gala saw international stars descend on the red carpet adhering to a theme that celebrated the confluence of Christianity and fashion — “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” However, when BBC Minute had gone to Southall — where London’s biggest Sikh community resides — Rajvatan Singh, a Sikh model said that Gucci, instead of using white men, could have used models from the community if they had to use turban as an accessory. “But if you are going to use someone whose tradition isn’t wearing a turban, then they should’ve been aware of the fact, of how much importance it holds to the Sikh community,” he added. The video further shows what the Sikhs in the community think of the fashion house’s attempt at “exploring the notion of identity”, social media backlash aside.