Gucci has been accused of cultural appropriation over the sale of a turban-inspired headpiece.
In February, bosses at the Italian fashion house, led by creative director Alessandro Michele, were forced to issue an apology and set up diversity schemes after fans pointed out that they were advertising a knitted jumper that resembled blackface – the controversial makeover white people adopt to look like black figures.
Now, Gucci has sparked outrage from the Sikh community over a cotton headwrap being sold for $790 (£618) by U.S. retailers such as Nordstrom, with the piece appearing to be very similar to the traditional headwear, also known as dastaar, which represents honour, self-respect, courage and piety.
“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 recognise this critical context. #appropriation,” an official from the New York Sikh Coalition wrote on Twitter, while Vancouver-based reporter Taran Parmar commented of the headpiece, “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.”
In addition, another Twitter user named Aasees Kaur pointed out that those who wear turbans for religious reasons have been targets of violence in the past.
“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,” she stated.
The item was previously sold on the Nordstrom website with the description, “Indy Full Head Wrap”. It is no longer available.
Gucci’s turban was first unveiled during a runway presentation held as part of Milan Fashion Week in February 2018.
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