A model sporting a turban for Gucci's menswear collection Image: Facebook
When social activist Harjinder Singh Kukreja took to Twitter to express his displeasure over the brand's use of turbans, Twitterati was conflicted. Kukreja wrote, "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." And soon after, a Twitter user replied, "Dear Sir, in America we have freedom to wear what we choose. While we may practice religion of our choice we are not an overly religious country. Many wear crosses for fashion, not religion. Turbans to dry wet hair, scarves for wind, and so on. #AmericaTheFree♥️🇺🇸."
This was followed by another, who wrote, "I can't understand your logic... You have turban days in New York and proudly create awareness of Sikh turban by tying turbans. What is wrong with models wearing it. I think they are sporting it in good spirit. @gucci please ignore this guy."
Another pointed out that the turban has never been exclusive to Sikhs only, and said, "A turban is not exclusively worn for Sikhs, never has been, this argument has no bases & is ignorant & stereotypical. Nice fashion move on #Gucci FYI: “white ppl” been wearing scarfs look at those old 60-70s movies where have you been. Fashion revolves in circles."
Some, however, felt Kukreja's was right. "I'm not a practising Sikh, but that kind of nonsense annoys me. Its an important way of life for millions, it shouldn't be reduced to an accessory on a runway. Same goes for the cross, the hijab and many other things."
In 2012, Jean Paul Gaultier's Sikh-inspired line was all the rage. The French designer had created a spring/summer 2013 menswear collection for Hermès which was showcased in Paris.
Now we are nobody to comment on the right or wrong of it all, but may we take a moment to acknowledge the fact that India has arrived, and how, on the international runway? From Zara's lungi-inspired skirt to Calvin Klein's monkey cap headgear. And now Gucci's turban. Are we a treasure trove of inspiration, or what?