Gucci slammed for selling $800 ‘Indy’ turban

‘The Sikh turban is NOT a hot new accessory’: Gucci is accused of ‘religious and cultural disrespect’ for selling an $800 turban – months after being slammed for ‘blackface’ sweater

  • Gucci debuted the turbans in its Fall 2018 runway show, which took place in Milan in February 2018
  • There was serious backlash at the time of the show, with charges of insensitivity and social appropriation
  • Twitter is in uproar again after some people noticed one of the turbans was selling for $790 on Nordstrom’s website
  • Critics say that for Sikhs, the turban (or dastaar) has spiritual significance and selling one as a fashion accessory diminishes that
  • Nordstrom has since apologized and pulled the turban from circulation 

Gucci is facing backlash from Sikhs on social media for selling several pricey designer turbans, which critics say make light of the garment’s religious importance and appropriate culture.

One turban in particular, a $790 royal blue piece from the brand’s Fall 2018 collection has caught the attention of Twitter users both for its high price and the fact that it even exists at all.

On Thursday morning, Nordstrom announced that it was pulling the turban from its website and stores, and apologized to those who were offended.

Controversial: Gucci is facing backlash from Sikhs on social media for selling this turban for $790

Bringing attention: The Sikh Coalition and others called out both Gucci and Nordstrom for offering the item

Appropriation: Critics pointed out the religious significance of a turban, and said it wasn’t a fashion accessory

They knew what they were doing: Some found it particularly egregious that they called the item the ‘Indy’ turban

Thoughtful: Some simply wanted to educate others — and save them from spending so much money

Some pointed out that people have been killed and discriminated against for wearing a turban for religious purposes — so making it a fashion accessory minimizes that

The turban in question — and several other versions of it in different colors — actually debuted on the runway in February 2018.

What is a Sikh dastaar or turban?

A turban, which is also known as a dastaar, is mandatory for practising Sikh men and women as they must cover their heads when in public.

The dastaar is an article of faith that represents honour, self-respect, courage, spirituality, and piety.

For a Sikh, the dastaar (Sikh turban) is a religious requirement by the Guru’s own injunction seen as a ‘gift’.

Dastaar is an essential article of faith for male Sikhs, about that there should be no misunderstanding: men must wear it, while it is optional for women.

Source: Sikhnet 

They certainly earned some negative attention at the time, but it doesn’t seem to have made an impact on the design house’s production decisions. 

But now members of the Sikh community have zeroed in once again on the turbans after Twitter users posted screenshots of its available on Nordstrom’s website.

Several wrote that the item was insensitive, offensive, and ‘gross.’  

‘The turban is not just an accessory to monetize; it’s a religious article of faith that millions of Sikhs view as sacred,’ wrote the Sikh Coalition. ‘Many find this cultural appropriation inappropriate, since those wearing the turban just for fashion will not appreciate its deep religious significance.’

‘I would be into this if it was a way to encourage diversity and access nonwestern clothing (I know guys who wear pre-wrapped turbans so this would be cool for them) but the marketing around this shows otherwise. This is a cash grab, and it’s gross,’ wrote another.

‘The nerve to call it Indy,’ pointed out yet another.

Harjinder Singh Kukreja explained just why he and others were so upset by the item. 

‘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.’  

‘This is beyond aggravating,’ said yet another. ‘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.’

And one more chimed in: ‘Dastar/“Sikh turban” comes w/ great responsibility. Sikhs were boiled alive & cut limb by limb for tying it. Post 9/11- bullied & murdered. Sikhi is accessible not luxurious. $5 for the cloth we die(d) for. #culturalappropriation at the expense of #Sikhgenocide’

‘Seriously @Nordstrom @gucci?’ asked yet another. ‘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.’ 

Wording: Saks sells a nearly identical item with a different pattern, but calls it a ‘Gold Jacquard Floral Headband’

Do something: Gucci’s collection was extremely controversial, but the turbans in particular have been an ongoing sore spot

While Gucci has yet to comment on the controversy, Nordstrom has weighed in, tweeting an apology and announcing that it would no longer sell the turban.

‘We have decided to stop carrying this product and have removed it from the site. It was never our intent to disrespect this religious and cultural symbol. We sincerely apologize to anyone who may have been offended by this,’ they wrote.

Meanwhile, Saks sells a nearly identical item with a different pattern, but calls it a ‘Gold Jacquard Floral Headband.’  

The turban backlash has grown larger since February 2018, when the turbans first hit the catwalk.

At the time, actor Avan Jogia shared his disappointment with creative director Alessandro Michele’s designs.

‘This isn’t a good look for you. Could you not find a brown model?’t he television star, who was born Chutkara Patel Jogia and has roots in Hinduisim and Buddhism, fumed.

Flashback: When the turbans made their runway debut in February 2018, several white models wore them — which offended many people at the time

Hold up! Actor Avan Jogia called Gucci out for the movie and the lack of runway diversity

Accountable: Avan, who has walked for Dolce and Gabbana, asked why Gucci didn’t use a ‘brown model’ instead, urging people of color to speak out

The first backlash: Others chimed in to shared their fury over Gucci’s turbans, saying they were offensive against the Sikh religion 

Avan’s followers responded to his tweet saying Gucci had ‘hit a new low’ and that it was ‘offensive and irresponsible’ of the brand. 

One woman, who described herself as a practicing Sikh, said: ‘My blood is boiling right now. As a Sikh, I see this as a huge sign of disrespect and disregard towards Sikhism. 

‘It isn’t hard to educate yourself on the significance of a turban. This isn’t a mere fashion accessory! Thank you Avan for speaking out on this.’

Another angry person said: ‘This is unacceptable and offensive Gucci. Wearing another religions article of faith is not fashion, its appropriation!

‘Sikh men are profiled and discriminated against every day for wearing a turban, yet when you put in on a white person, it’s suddenly fashionable and cool?!?!’

Interestingly enough, the turbans are the only accessory to come out of this particular collection that offended people. 

They keep stepping in it, don’t they? Gucci also came under fire for this ‘blackface’ sweater, which came from the same collection 

Not OK: Social media users continued to circulate images of the clothing pieces that were deemed offensive after they were withdrawn from sale 

Response: Gucci took to Twitter to apologize and added that diversity was fundamental for the brand

This collection also turned out a series of colorful balaclavas, including one that critics have said resembles blackface.

The $890 balaclava and sweater was the subject of quite an uproar, with many social media users saying the black fabric and exaggerated black lips were offensive.

‘THIIIIIIIS is blackface guys. THIS. huge overdramatic red lips and a literal BLACK face. This is DISGUSTING. I don’t wanna see any of you with Gucci belts and slides after this,’ wrote one. 

‘WTF @gucci?!!?!?!? Haute Couture Blackface for the millennials??? F**K. YOU,’ another user said. 

‘If you think this was an “oversight” you’re sadly mistaken,’ said another user. ‘Brands do s**t like this all the time. They give a tired a*s apology then we continue to wear their clothes. Do you REALLY think not one person employed at Gucci saw this top and didn’t automatically think “blackface” FOH.’ 

Gucci has since apologized, telling in a statement: ‘Gucci deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper.

‘We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make.’  

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