Gucci Is In Trouble For Another Culturally Insensitive Design

No one said being a fashion designer was easy, but there’s one basic rule that really shouldn’t be that hard to remember: try not to piss off an entire religious/cultural/ethnic group. It seems pretty obvious that cultural appropriation isn’t cool in 2019, but apparently the people over at Gucci have forgotten…for the second time this year.

A few months ago, Gucci raised some major eyebrows when white male models in their Milan Fashion Week show were wearing turbans as accessories on the runway. There’s nothing wrong with wearing a hat, but people were upset that the accessories closely resembled the dastaar, the turbans worn by those in the Sikh religion. The turbans, which have deep significance in the Sikh faith, have been worn for hundreds of years.

People were already upset about the accessories being worn on the runway, but last week, the turbans went up for sale on the Nordstrom website. Officially called the “Indy Full Turban”, the retail price was a casual $790. Yikes. Aside from the look of the turban, it’s an extremely bad look to rip off an Indian religion and then call the item “Indy.” I have many, many questions about how anyone at Gucci thought this was a good idea, let alone the dozens of people who must have approved this before it made it to the racks at Nordstrom.

Like I mentioned before, this isn’t even the first time in 2019 that Gucci has caused major controversy over one of its designs. Back in February, there was an uproar over a turtleneck sweater that looked way too similar to blackface makeup. Also, it looks impractical and uncomfortable, but the main issue was the blackface.

In the wake of this scandal, Gucci immediately pulled the product from its site, and it issued what seemed like a very solid apology for what they had done. In his official statement about the controversy, the Gucci President and CEO acknowledged that the company was lacking “cultural diversity and awareness,” and committed to an ambitious plan to fix things. They announced that they were hiring “global and regional directors for diversity and inclusion,” as well as three different programs aimed at increasing representation and awareness moving forward.

As opposed to some other companies and designers, who have been defensive and/or dismissive when responding to issues like this (looking at you, Dolce & Gabbana), it really seemed like Gucci got the issue, and was committed to fixing things in the future. With this most recent drama with the turban, now I’m not so sure. Gucci has yet to release a statement about the new controversy, but Nordstrom has changed the name of the item to “Head wrap” and says that it’s sold out. Sure, Jan.

This is definitely not the first time that a fashion brand has made a completely avoidable blunder like this, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Just like we all know that it’s not appropriate to wear a Native American headdress to Coachella (I hope we all know this by now), brands like Gucci really should know better. Maybe now you’ll think twice before Instagramming that photo with your Gucci belt clearly visible.

Images: Getty Images; @Singhlions, @southernsikh / Twitter; @diet_prada, @gucci / Instagram

Dylan Hafer
Dylan Hafer
Dylan Hafer has watched over 1000 episodes of Real Housewives because he has his priorities in order. Follow him on Instagram @dylanhafer and Twitter @thedylanhafer for all the memes you could ever want.