A young woman wearing an elegant white maxi dress, a classic denim jacket with brown flats and a blue turban. A young man with well-groomed beard wearing a pink shirt with blue pants and a matching turban, exuding urbanity at its best. They are just two of the Sikh youth who are celebrating their sense of fashion while taking pride in the unique identity bestowed upon them by their faith. Though this may sound like a paradox but this synthesis of faith and fashion is the core of a budding Vancouver-based blog called Turban-Esque.
Brain child of two University of British Columbia business students, Jaskaran Chauhan and Jaskirat Chahal, the blog was started in July this year. It is all about celebrating the unique identity that comes with wearing a Pagg. Over the course of four months, the blog has emerged as a platform for young Sikhs in the city to showcase their sense of fashion.
“We both wear Paggs, right. It’s literally a part of us. It is like who we are. It is a part of our identity and you cannot separate me from my Pagg,” said Chauhan while explaining the concept of the blog. “Recently, it’s becoming more accepted. Now it’s more like guys who are different and it’s cool and awesome to be different…It’s a showcase of our identity. If you wear a Pagg, it’s like showing other people your identity and same with fashion. You express yourself through fashion, like it is who I am,” he added.
This concept of expression through fashion and turbans, has been borrowed from other established blogs like Singh Street Style which is based in United Kingdom. “It’s kind of like basing it up on other people’s work. All these people like Jus Reign and Superwoman are based in Toronto and there was nothing like that in Vancouver. When we saw Singh Street Style, our first reaction was like ‘let’s be on it’,” Chauhan said.
What sets Turban-Esque apart from any other such blog is the consideration of equal representation for women. “So far we only see men in the main media, you never see women with turbans in the media. That is one of the very important things that we wanted to focus on and make sure we had as equal gender representation as possible. Because they are just as proud as we are,” said Chahal.
“If we are talking about being accepted, we want the same for girls, right. People look at guy with a Pagg differently than they look at a girl with a Pagg,” Chauhan added. He said that women who wear turbans are more prone to get judged as “orthodox” by people. “We want to show that that’s not necessarily. I mean some of the women featured on the blog, their sense of fashion is not what you would typically expect from a girl with a Pagg,” said Chauhan.While they have enough participants for men, women they say are a lot more apprehensive of putting themselves out there.
So where do they see Turban-Esque after five years?
“In five years, I want it to grow out from more than just our community because identity is something anybody could relate to,” answered Chauhan. “I mean the turban isn’t just a Sikh thing, right. There are people from Africa who wear turbans. I personally want to see this growing to be something bigger than just our community like bringing everybody together in expressing their identity,” he explained.
“It’s cool that we can use fashion to get different people together. It’s great that our community is supporting us but we’ll like Turban-Esque to be a lot broader,” said Chahal.
Having a unique identity and taking pride in it, is the idea behind Turban-Esque. In a society where everyone is trying so hard to fit in, this group of young Sikhs is reveling in the fact of being different than others and are confident about that.
By Sableen Minhas