Italian luxury brand company Gucci went from apologizing for the “offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper” in February, otherwise known as the blackface sweater, to creating disgust in the Sikh community for selling $790 turbans at Nordstrom, The Washington Post reports.
The blue turban, currently listed on Nordstrom as “sold out,” was not a fashionable step in the right direction for Gucci or Nordstrom. “For a Sikh, wearing a turban asserts a public commitment to maintaining the values and ethics of the tradition, including service, compassion and honesty,” according to the Sikh Coalition.
To that end, the Coalition tweeted that “the Sikh turban is not just a fashion accessory, but it’s also a sacred religious article of faith.” It also discussed the racism and discrimination faced as a result of wearing the turban.
.@gucci @Nordstrom 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. #appropriation https://t.co/p1z3CYq0NT— Sikh Coalition (@sikh_coalition) May 15, 2019
When companies appropriate articles of faith, they do not take into consideration the discrimination Sikhs face while adhering to the tenets of their faith. We appreciate @Nordstrom’s recognition of this problem & apology; we hope @Gucci will follow suit. https://t.co/BULSc4GNnh— Sikh Coalition (@sikh_coalition) May 16, 2019
The Coalition wasn’t the only one to notice:
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
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
In America, Sikhs are literally being killed because racists are misidentifying them as Muslim. @gucci chooses to use a core symbol of the Sikh faith as a fashion accessory. Gross.— tired law student (@takeanapdotcom) May 17, 2019
⚡️ “Gucci’s ‘Indy Turban’ faces criticism for cultural appropriation”https://t.co/QTJEhyvxdb
During Operation Woodrose in 1980’s India- any Sikh wearing a turban was targeted & often shot point blank with their hands tied behind their backs, with their unwound turbans. Any youth aged between 15 & 35 were particularly targeted for eradication. #gucci #SikhGenocide #turban— Jasjit Singh (@JasjitSDhanoa) May 16, 2019
Great morning speaking with Jo Bostock @BBCLeicester about the significance of the #Sikh #Turban.— Kartar Singh Bring (@KartarSBring) March 11, 2018
Through education we may see less #GucciTurban & #discrimination against #Sikhs & highlight the great values & qualities a Sikh’s #Turban signifies @LeicsSikhAllian @SikhCouncilUK pic.twitter.com/yzFPFxSgMB
Nordstrom removed the item from its website and posted apologetic statements via Twitter:
Our intent was never to disrespect this religious and cultural symbol and we apologize to anyone who may have been offended. It has been removed from our website.— Nordstrom (@Nordstrom) May 16, 2019
We appreciate these customers reaching out to share their feedback with us and have made the decision to stop carrying the product. It has been removed it from our website.— Nordstrom (@Nordstrom) May 16, 2019