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  • Gucci model wearing a Sikh-style turban at a fashion show in Milan in 2018. (Twitter)
Fashion designer Gucci has come under fire yet again, this time for selling their $1200 ‘Indy Full Turban’ that many social media users say makes light of the article’s religious significance for Sikhs.
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17 May 2019 - 4:33 PM  UPDATED 17 May 2019 - 4:40 PM

The headwear identical to the turbans worn by Sikhs was first spotted on the Gucci models strutting down the runway at the Italian fashion house’s show in Milan in February last year.

    

At the time, Gucci was widely panned for the fashion ‘blunder’ and was called out for cultural appropriation by the Sikh community across the globe.

But it appears that the luxury brand has chosen to ignore the religious significance of the garment, a mandatory article of the Sikh faith, as it has continued to manufacture and sell it for an eye-popping price of nearly $1200.

This week there was a fierce backlash on social media with many accusing the brand of 'commercialising' and 'trivialising' the sacred article whose wearers they claim often face discrimination and attacks for their adherence to conventions and maintenance of religious identity.

Daisy Singh, a Melbourne-based fashion student told SBS Punjabi that many designers of late have faced accusations of cultural appropriation perhaps because of the 'transient and fast-paced' nature of the industry.

"But this was totally avoidable," said Ms Singh.

"Fashion houses need to hire experts from diverse backgrounds to avoid such blunders or they could have simply hired Sikh models to walk the ramp if they really had to do it. Trust me, it would have fetched them appreciation instead of all the garb they are receiving at present," she added.

Meanwhile, Chairperson of the Sikh Interfaith Council of Victoria, Jasbir Singh Suropada told SBS Punjabi that the episode calls for the Sikh community to get together and educate the fashion industry.

"This is utter disrespect and blasphemy. Gucci needs to apologise to the Sikh community. And Sikhs, in turn, need to educate the fashion industry regarding their beliefs and values so that they are not infringed upon in future," said Mr Suropada.

Some netizens also weighed in on the brand’s 'exaggerated' pricing for the product that usually costs anywhere between $5 to $30 depending on the type, length and colour of the fabric.

The said product ‘Indy Full Turban’ was listed for sale on US retailer Nordstrom's website until it was subsequently removed late on Wednesday following the online outrage.

Announcing the withdrawal, the online retailer took to Twitter to apologise for carrying the product.

Gucci, meanwhile, is yet to address the controversy.

It is, however, not the first time that Gucci has dropped the ball.

The luxury brand had earlier come under fire for selling a $1300 balaclava knit jumper that looked like blackface.

The article was instantly removed and packed with a tender apology from the Italian fashion house which at the time vowed it would “increase diversity” and would use the incident as a “learning” experience for the future.

Listen to SBS Punjabi Monday to Friday at 9 pm. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. 

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