On February 21, Gucci’s 2018 Autumn-Winter runway show featured some bizzare concepts. Models holding dragons and sculptures of their own heads may be a part of the buzz but it’s not all. Across Twitter and Instagram, users woke up to pictures that looked suspiciously similar to bindis, hijabs, niqabs and sikhs. All sported by a largely white cast, another factor in the ‘offending religious sentiments’ backlash.
Actor and model Avan Jogia sparked a wide debate on Twitter after he tweeted a photo of a white model wearing a turban.
— Avan Jogia (@AvanJogia) February 22, 2018
Indeed, Many of the world’s 27 million Sikhs – both men and women – wear the turban. It covers the knot of hair which followers of Sikhism allow to grow naturally out of respect for God’s creation. Most Sikhs live in India.
Branded by Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele, the event “drew inspiration from Donna Haraway’s 1984 essay on ‘A Cyborg Manifesto’, which rejects the idea of rigid boundaries separating humans from animals and machines,” HuffPost UK reported.
— Jamani (@jamaniprod) February 26, 2018
Although most of the backlash targeted the brand’s featuring of Sikh turbans in their show, Muslim tweeps were also quite upset over the way hijabs and niqabs were portrayed.
Fuck you @gucci My mum gets harassed for wearing the headscarf-and u make ur models wear it for fashion. Couldn’t you find actual muslim/brown people to wear the hijab or Sikh people to wear the turban??Fix the fuck up. #GucciFW18 #cultureapproriation pic.twitter.com/J5ASUYiSIf
— Linda حسان (@lillysinmyhair) February 22, 2018
When I first saw what looked like headscarves come down the runway I tried not to think too much of it. Then came the turbans and niqab-like face masks and I raised an eyebrow. I thought perhaps I'm overreacting. pic.twitter.com/sFChA9h0j1
— faiyaz (@fixated_f) February 22, 2018
Appropriation criticism is not so unfamiliar for Gucci. During their 2018 Cruise collection last spring, while under the creative direction of Michele, the Italian luxury brand was called out for lifting from black culture, specifically in their copying of silhouettes and styles made famous by Harlem designer Dapper Dan.