- The Italian designer Gucci is facing criticism by many in the Sikh community over an almost $800 ‘Indy Full Head Wrap’ that they say belittles their faith.
- The Sikh identity includes five articles of faith, the most visible aspect being the turban, which can be worn by both men and women.
- The Sikh Coalition told INSIDER that Nordstrom has apologized and will no longer sell the turban, and they “hope that Gucci will follow suit.”
- Gucci faced backlash earlier this year over a $900 sweater that many said had an image on it that resembled blackface.
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The Italian designer Gucci is – once again – in the hot seat for selling an item that many consider to be cultural appropriation.
Gucci faced backlash earlier this year over a $900 sweater that many said resembled blackface. Outrage ensued on social media, with many calling the brand racist. In February, Gucci issued a formal apology and removed the sweater from its shelves.
Read more: Why these Gucci clothes are racist
Gucci recently released a ‘Indy Full Head Wrap’ for almost $800, described on Nordstrom’s website as “a gorgeously crafted turban” that will “turn heads while keeping you in comfort as well as trademark style.” Many in the Sikh community were quick to criticize the fashion accessory, accusing the brand of belittling their faith.
The Sikh Coalition told INSIDER in a statement that Nordstrom has since “offered their sincere apologies” and will no longer sell the turban, and they “hope that Gucci will follow suit.”
Gucci’s parent company, Kering, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Sikhism, the world’s fifth largest religion, was founded in the Punjab region of South Asia by Guru Nanak, who was born in 1469 AD. Today, there are more than 25 million Sikhs around the world, and around 500,000 in the US. The Sikh identity includes five articles of faith, the most visible aspect being the turban, which can be worn by both men and women and, as The Sikh Coalition notes “asserts a public commitment to maintaining the values and ethics of the tradition, including service, compassion, and honesty.”
Gucci’s turban first garnered criticism when it debuted at the Milan Fashion Week in February, with thousands expressing disappointment over the brand using a Sikh religious symbol for profit, according to Al Jazeera. Some took to social media to question the brand’s decision to feature white runway models in the turban.
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 pic.twitter.com/sOaKgNmgwR
— Harjinder Singh Kukreja (@SinghLions) May 16, 2019
— Avan Jogia (@AvanJogia) February 22, 2018
That outcry, however, didn’t dissuade the luxury brand from selling the turban. On Twitter, The Sikh Coalition noted: “The Sikh turban is not just a fashion accessory, but it’s also a sacred religious article of faith. We hope more can be done to recognize this critical context.”
Others took to Twitter to blast the brand. In response to the hefty price, one person wrote that “turbans are supposed to promote equality among the people. Selling a turban, let alone a ‘Gucci’ one, that is $750 is not right. It promotes the opposite of equality.” Another person offered to “arrange FREE lessons in Turban tying in most places and provide cloth material..FREE.”
We're attacked and killed for how we look, and now corporations get to profit off that same look?
Feels wrong to me. Your thoughts? https://t.co/Em9UELbkTB
— Simran Jeet Singh (@SikhProf) May 15, 2019
Seriously @Nordstrom @gucci ? The turban is one of the most important and symbolic articles of faith for Sikhs, and you’re selling it as a fashion accessory to make money? This isn’t the first time you’ve come under fire for cultural appropriation. Do better. pic.twitter.com/3KHtHSKEqm
— Taran Parmar (@Tarankparmar) May 14, 2019
This is beyond aggravating. Did someone at @gucci even bother to figure out what a dastaar (turban) means to Sikhs? Did it cross your minds to consider the history behind our identity? My people are discriminated against, even killed, for wearing a turban. pic.twitter.com/G62edSmjhf
— Aasees Kaur (@SouthernSikh) May 14, 2019
“We advocate for those who are discriminated against, including many who face this discrimination based upon their Sikh religious identity and expression,” The Sikh Coalition told INSIDER. “When companies like Gucci appropriate articles of faith, like the turban they are trying to capitalize on, they do not take into consideration the discrimination that Sikhs face while adhering to the tenets of their faith.”