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Gucci's 'Indy Turban' criticized for cultural appropriation

NBC News logo NBC News 15/05/2019 Ludwig Hurtado

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Luxury fashion brand Gucci is coming under fire for selling Sikh turbans at Nordstrom.

Critics say that selling the turbans, which cost almost $800 (£622) each, is cultural appropriation, particularly because those wearing them as designer accessories won't appreciate their deep religious significance.

a group of people posing for the camera: Image: A model walks the runway at the Gucci show during Milan Fashion Week on Feb. 21, 2018. © Venturelli Image: A model walks the runway at the Gucci show during Milan Fashion Week on Feb. 21, 2018. "The turban is not just a fashion accessory to monetize, but a religious article of faith that millions of Sikhs around the world view as sacred," the Sikh Coalition, an advocacy organization, said in a statement to NBC News.

The turban, or dastaar, is a headpiece worn by Sikh people as a way to identify themselves as members of their faith.

Gucci first received public criticism for the turbans in February 2018 when it used them in a runway show during Milan Fashion Week.

Gallery: Celebrities accused of cultural appropriation (Stars Insider)

Gucci's use of the religious headpiece is not the brand's first racist controversy. Earlier this year, it stopped selling a wool sweater that was reminiscent of images of "blackface" after the sweater and brand were ridiculed on social media.

Gucci issued an apology for the sweater, saying it "deeply apologizes for the offense caused," adding that the brand was "fully committed to increasing diversity throughout our organization and turning this incident into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team and beyond."

Reached by email, Gucci's parent company, Kering, deferred comment on the latest controversy to Gucci. Gucci has not responded to an NBC News request for comment.

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