PC Culture

Gucci Shredded by Critics for Dressing White Models in Turbans

Models present creations from the Gucci Autumn/Winter 2018 women collection during Milan Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, February 21, 2018. (Tony Gentile/Reuters)
Fashion choices on display at Milan's fashion week spark a backlash.

The stigma against cultural appropriation is alive and well, including in the world of fashion.

Critics took to social media this week to criticize fashion designer Gucci’s choice to have white models wear pieces that looked like traditional Sikh turbans and Muslim hijabs for its autumn and winter 2018 show.

Canadian model Avan Jogia began the backlash with a tweet asking the fashion leader why it could not have found a “brown model” to wear the turbans at Milan’s Fashion Week. He encouraged all people of color to call out cultural appropriation.

“Yo.. @gucci … I mess with you guys… but this isn’t a good look for you,” Jogia, 32, tweeted.

Some members of the Sikh community joined in raking the fashion line over the coals for using Western models, saying it is disrespectful to those who wear religious headwear. And some Twitter users called Gucci “offensive” and “irresponsible” and were incensed that white models paraded the accessories down the runway while those who wear them as a way of life are sometimes harassed.

The backlash comes after a Sikh man on Wednesday was attacked as he stood outside Parliament in London by a man who shouted “Muslims go back” and tried to rip off the Sikh man’s turban.

Other commenters were gentler, insisting no disrespect was meant by wearing the accessories.

Former Huffington Post UK editor Poorna Bell addressed white people directly, asking them to check their privilege:

“The turban look was an absolute mockery and the bindi. It doesn’t feel like it’s done by accident anymore,” Amaliah reporter Lamisa Khan told Huffington Post UK. “It’s as though they’re doing it on purpose for attention.”

Gucci’s parent company, Kering, did not return a request for comment.

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