Italian brands seem to be having some trouble lately. Social media’s rampant call-out culture means nothing even mildly problematic flies under the radar for long, and despite announcing the appointment of an in-house advisory board after their last major controversy, it seems Gucci still can’t get things right.
The brand’s latest faux pas comes in the form of a blue turban (its debut on a white male model adding insult to injury), which garnered rampant backlash when it hit the runway last year. And yet, it still went into production and became available to shop this week. The Sikh community accused the luxury fashion house of failing to recognize their religious identity and the marginalization that often comes with wearing the headpiece. As such, Twitter has been set ablaze (again!).
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
We're attacked and killed for how we look, and now corporations get to profit off that same look?
Feels wrong to me. Your thoughts? https://t.co/Em9UELbkTB
— Simran Jeet Singh (@SikhProf) May 15, 2019
As of last night, the ‘Indy Full Turban,’ which was listed for $790 at Nordstrom, was marked as “sold out” on the retailer’s site. The fact that the decision came so hot on the heels of the blackface sweater scandal (ICYMI: Gucci created balaclava-inspired turtlenecks with large red lips circling the mouth) is surprising. The brand apologized, claiming it would “[turn] this incident into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team and beyond.”
CEO Marco Bizzari added: “We accept full accountability for this incident which has exposed shortfalls in our ongoing strategic approach to embedding diversity and inclusion in both our organization and in our activities.”
As a result, Gucci announced it would be implementing a four-step initiative to ensure there were no further cultural missteps, the first of which was to create the role of “Global Director for Diversity and Inclusion, based at Gucci America in New York.” Well, we have a question: Where were they?