Nordstrom removes $790 Gucci 'Indy Turban' that looks identical to Sikh headwear

Maybe that’s it. I’m not Muslim so I have no idea. Some of these people are. They seem upset about it. Maybe it’s because their symbol of faith is being used as an accessory by those who aren’t members of their faith. I wouldn’t know.

Oh, I got that, I just wanted to reiterate! There is a lot of money being spent on fashion among the upper class women of the emirates and Saudi Arabia.


Much of which seems to be at odds with the clothing ordinary women in the country must wear to avoid the attention of religious police. There seems to be a level of stratification beyond mere fashion going on with Saudi women’s clothing. Or at least that was my impression from some of the clothing at the modest women’s fashion exhibit at the De Young Museum.

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Not unfair criticism. That said, in the Gucci hijab case I would wager this is more trying to market to a specific and wealthy niche.

The good thing about having a religion with over a billion adherents is there’s plenty of up and coming Islamic fashion houses run by actual Muslims that an adherent of means can patronize if they so choose.


Yes. I’m aware… which is why I mentioned class.

Think JG Ballard, but read through the lens of the elite class in Saudi Arabia.


There appear to be several different styles of turbans that Sikhs wear.

Plus, they’re saying it’s not a real turban because it’s a hat instead of being wrapped up by hand, which seems like you could take it two ways: is the offense that it’s not a real turban, or is the offense that non-Sikhs are wearing them (in which case, the fact that they’re not real means it’s. . . ok?)

No, this is a ridiculous argument. Whether it’s a hat or actual wrap is beyond the point. It’s selling something meant to ape a specific style of religious headdress to cater to ignorant Westerners (probably the same kind of person that think Sikhs and Muslims are the same).

Religious symbols get remixed, reinterpreted, and appropriated all the time. But this specific example being sold as an expensive fashion accessory seems particularly beyond the pale to me.


You may be right. The thing is, I’m not Muslim so I can’t really make that call. It also means it’s not my place to “defend” them either. That also means it’s probably not a good idea for non-Muslim people to tell others why it’s ok for GUCCI to market a fashion Hijab by having Christian Europeans wear them. All I can do is look around and notice that there seems to be quite a few Muslim people unhappy about it and share that with you.

Well said

From the House of Singh link above:

“In ancient times the turban was only worn by the elites of society. The Sikh gurus rebelled against this system, teaching instead that all people are equal irrespective of their origin-- there are no highs or lows among us. The Sikh turban represents the embodiment of Sikh teachings, the love of the Guru, and the sigma to do good deeds.”

By that I think anyone would be allowed to wear the turban (hopefully they are non-ignorant) but wearing it would be an invitation for Sikhs to approach and discuss the faith with them-- one step backwards, one step forwards.


I think by treating religion and religious items as deserving of venneration is probably a bad idea in the long run.

When my daughter was in second grade, her best friend was a girl that wore a hijab almost every day. My daughter thought it was pretty and wanted one too but we didn’t get her one because we were worried that it would offend people. I still don’t know if that was the right decision.

So is it a hat that looks like a turban, or an actual head-wrap, a length of cloth that one has to bind into place?

I know there are a lot of different types of turbans, but I’m unclear how distinct the Sikh turbans are from other, similar styles. There have to be limited ways in which a piece of cloth is wrapped around the head, right? Even the (Western) Europeans used to wear turbans, which I always assume was a style influenced by the Ottoman empire, but apparently the practice dates back to the 6th century even in England. People are (rightly) sensitive to cultural appropriate these days, but I’ve also seen a few instances of people calling out cultural appropriation in situations where they were claiming ownership of a tradition that wasn’t theirs to lay full claim to in the first place (because, ironically, they were culturally ignorant of how widespread the tradition was).

It goes back further than that, as there were orientalist fads in the Victorian era, the 16th-18th centuries (“Turquerie”), etc. Though there are older, non- (or less obviously) orientalist styles as well, e.g.

Probably the wrong context, though. More apt - “Cholo” culture in Japan, where non-Christians wear rosaries as part of the adopted cultural costume. That particular part of it is… not-so-cool.

Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. I think the appropriate response here is to “ask an expert”. You can’t please everybody all the time, but starting a dialog can be a good starting point.

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This is a good point. Somehow I don’t think this particular application is meant to invite cultural exchange, but I get where you’re coming from. I find Sikhism to be a fascinating culture and religion so I would find such a conversation very interesting, but you don’t need to wear a culturally appropriated symbol of their faith to do this. The ones I’ve talked to in the past have been more than open about discussing their beliefs without provoking it.

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15th century noble-punks wearing their hoods inside-out and backwards, yo!


I believe you’re right, it’s really just about making money for them.

I will say the Sikh model I linked to looks dignified and admirable, whereas the skinny white guy model that Gucci used looks like a clueless fop.

Next up: the wave of lawsuits as Gucci sues anyone who sells anything vaguely resembling a turban for counterfeiting.

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[citation needed]

Europeans have been “appropriating” turbans for hundreds of years. And I’m sure that there many books recording this sort of head dress. It is possible that the Gucci turban is recognizably derivative of the Sikh Turban, and not other orientalist forms, but at this point, I’m leaning towards no.

On the other hand, it’s fashion-- so it doesn’t matter if the sentiment is based on rigorous sources and methods. People will either buy the piece, or they won’t. It probably doesn’t help that Gucci is the corporate sponsor of this exhibition

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If you insist.

Looks pretty specific to me.

For the record I believe this is the variation known as the “men’s double patti,” commonly associated with the Punjab region of India.

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I’m not sure what your point is. I didn’t see a single turban design on that page that looks to be a copy of this specific style (men’s double patti dastar).

If anything, the sheer variety of possibilities available to fashion designers making turban-inspired headwear means there’s less reason to base their design on one with specific religious associations.