Luxury fashion label Gucci is under fire for making a $790 turban that resembles a Sikh turban. Sikhs have accused the designer of appropriating the headwear — which has significant religious meaning — for profit.
The controversial product – which first hit the runway at Milan Fashion Week – was listed on Nordstrom.com. The name has since been changed to "Indy Full Head Wrap."
It was described as a "gorgeously crafted turban (that) is ready to turn heads while keeping you in comfort as well as trademark style."
However, many slammed the luxury fashion company for appropriating the Sikh headdress, calling the item terribly offensive to those who practice the religion and are often discriminated against for wearing the traditional headwear.
When the Gucci turbans retailed at Nordstrom came to its notice, the Sikh Coalition, a civil rights organization, tweeted on its official Twitter page: “The turban is not just an accessory to monetize; it’s a religious article of faith that millions of Sikhs view as sacred. Many find this cultural appropriation inappropriate, since those wearing the turban just for fashion will not appreciate its deep religious significance.”
"Dear @gucci, the Sikh Turban is not a hot new accessory for white models but an article of faith for practicing Sikhs," wrote Harjinder Singh Kukreja, a Sikh restaurateur and philanthropist with more than 1.6 million Twitter followers. "Your models have used Turbans as 'hats' whereas practicing Sikhs tie them neatly fold-by-fold. Using fake Sikhs/Turbans is worse than selling fake Gucci products."
Sikh Coalition said it has reached out to both Gucci and Nordstrom, with the community’s concerns and are waiting to hear from them.
In the meanwhile, Nordstrom announced that it had pulled the item off the site. "We have decided to stop carrying this product and have removed it from the site," Nordstrom said. "It was never our intent to disrespect this religious and cultural symbol. We sincerely apologize to anyone who may have been offended by this."
Gucci had come under fire last year as well, when it showcased models walking down the runway at the Milan Fashion Week wearing a Sikh turban. The Sikh community told the designer brand that showcasing turbans as fashion was considered inappropriate because of its significance in the Sikh faith.