The Turbanist at the Photo ShootJASVINDER SINGH TIWANA
Turban tier, they call me.
Or, turban wrapper.
My personal favourite: turbanist.
It all started some years ago after I was asked to present a Masterclass in Turban Tying at the National Army Museum in London, for a joint venture between the museum and the Anglo Sikh Heritage Trail, for which I volunteer.
I’d like to tell you I’ve never looked back and that it completely changed my life, but alas, it hasn’t .
I still have a regular job but every once in a while, out of the blue, I get a call asking for my services.
I’ve since been asked to tie turbans at weddings, funerals, film festivals, corporate and educational events, but strangely, no bar rmitzvahs!
It's always a pleasure in explaining the significance of the Sikh turban and the amazement on peoples faces when you show people the process which transforms a piece of cloth six metres in length to the final product, a Crown.
And then came the big Photo Shoot earlier this year.
There were a great deal of phone calls and emails before the actual event that I was asked to help in, ranging from scouting for potential models to the style and colours required for the shoot.
It was determined that the turban had to be British in style as apposed to the Patiala or Barnala-shahi which I kept being sent by the photographer.
Dates for the shoot kept being moved as the shoot was going to be on ‘location’ and the stylist was waiting to see what was being launched at London Fashion week as the Sikh models would be wearing the latest creations. This was something ground breaking for everyone and we all wanted to make sure it went to plan. There was an air of secrecy as the magazine was concerned that the idea could be poached by rival publishers.
This was my first foray into the world of fashion shoots. I wasn't too sure what to expect.
The magazine I was working for was called i-D. I vaguely remembered the name from my days of youth. It was a fashion culture magazine with its iconic front covers with the cover shot always taken with one eye shut.
The days were long with a lot of travelling around and waiting for the sun to come up to catch the right moment.
On the day in question, I met up with the models, Malkeet Singh and Navpreet Singh, and we were driven around London, getting out at pre-determined stops. There were a lot of passers-by wondering what was going on, including a group of Asians asking which bollywood film we were shooting for!
I think Malkeet felt he’d drawn the short staw as he had to always wear the outlandish outfits from Versace: clingy undergarments just about visible in the Versace photo. Or the red Givency skirt which no matter how much I tried to convince him it was in fact a kilt, I don't think he ever believed me!
Wherever we went people would stop to look and take their own photos.
Was it the clothes? The turbans? Or the whole package?
Wwhatever it was, I remember thinking, it's exactly what we Sikhs are born to be: to standout, to ne nyaara.
I’m generally very conservative with my choice in turban colours, usually black or navy blue and very occasionally light blue or white. But the shoot has taught me to be more experimental with colours. I hope you will be to.
P.S. If you need a turbanist, remember, I'm the one for you. You need a judge for a turban-tying competition in some far-flung exotic location, where could you find one better qualified?
Catch a different photo of the models each day on the sikhchic.com homepage!
June 27, 2012
Conversation about this article
1: Harinder Singh 1469 (New Delhi, India), June 27, 2012, 8:53 AM.
Very impressive ... Jasvinder has a lot of wardrobe sense and coordinated the lovely stripe fifty perfectly with the very neat, folded turban. Fine personalities, the three of them!
2: Aryeh Leib (Israel), June 27, 2012, 11:49 AM.
Jasvinder, if I thought for a moment that I could get away with it ... I'd invite you to work at a Bar Mitzvah! Now, if I can only figure out the fine distinctions between Turbanist, Turbanologist, Turbanator (Turbine?), etc.