I’m not saying I’m a model, honest, but I remember seeing an article on Sikh models on a BBC website back in 2003.
A number of points should be considered:
1. Sikhs believe in equality as a human right.
2. In the case of the BBC article, are we being singled out with our religion being used for something that is potentially exploitative?
3. Sikhs are fashionable too and there is nothing wrong with wanting to look good as long as you are not using it to your advantage !
4. Bollywood has a bad reputation on disrespecting non-Hindu religions.
Interestingly, I came across a site called www.ratemyturban.com. In once sense this site could be considered as being exploitative but from a postive perspective, it is fun and also celebrates the turban.
However, during the Lakme Fashion Week in Delhi (April 20-26, 2005) there was an unfortunate episode where Sikh symbols were inappropriately used. Even the title of the line of clothing was blasphemous.
Fashion does have a habit of getting itself into trouble. Think back to the questionable United Colurs of Benetton advertisments. In my view they were just there to shock and had no real value! At the end of the day, Fashion to one person could be considered unfashionable to somebody else. In a world full of glossy magazines that are obsessed with positioning and glorifying people as celebrities, is it any wonder that there appears to be a boost in the cosmetic surgery industry and a negative influence on children.
The idea of fashion got me wondering about some of the modern icons of Fashion, for example, the T-Shirt.
The idea of the T-shirt came to the USA during World War 1 when US soldiers noticed the light cotton undershirts European soldiers were using while the US soldiers sweated in their wool uniforms. Since they were so much more comfortable they quickly became popular among the Americans, and because of their design they got the name T-shirt.
In the 1960s, the Ringer T-shirt appeared and became a staple fashion for youth and rock-n-rollers. People also started to tie-dye and screen-print the basic T-shirt and variants such as the tank top, “wife beater”, muscle shirt, scoop neck and V-neck became popular.
Since then T-shirts have become a medium for self-expression and advertising, with any imaginable combination of words, art and even photographs on display.
Somebody bought me a T-Shirt the other day with the word ‘REDEMPTION’. I have to admit that I had to look-up its true meaning… Wikipedia describes Redemption as being a religious concept referring to forgiveness or absolution for past sins and protection from eternal damnation. Redemption is common in many religions. In short it can be considered as a religious concept synonymous with salvation; or delivery from sins. Anyway, here is a picture of it!
Unfortunately, many people will ‘judge a book by its cover’. For example, during the deposing of the Shah of Iran I was a young lad standing on a street corner in San Francisco. Suddenly a dark windowed metallic violet colured van spun around the corner. The driver poked his head out of the window and yelled, ‘Iran sucks’! I was in shock as I did not have a clue about why he had associated me with Iran!!?
The media do not help with placing sterotypical images of communities.
There is a need to understand that fashion is distinct from identity.
It is not about the cover, it is about what we make of our lives.
Posing is not needed!