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Turban Chic:








A blog titled Turban-Esque -- by two Vancouver-based 22-year-old Sikh-Canadians -- Jaskirat Singh Chahal and Jaskaran Singh Chauhan -- are consciously changing this. Their blog is merging the Sikh religious identity of the turban with fashion.

Since July 2014, their fan base has grown rapidly. Their Instagram currently boasts 666 followers -- an audience which is not exclusively Sikh or Punjabi. The blog showcases both male and female who stylishly adapt turban to their outfit, proving that a turban does not hinder one's ability to be fashionable and modern, it actually enhances it.

Talking about their inspiration, they said a lack of Punjabi representation in local fashion circles was the reason behind it.

"The United Kingdom has Singh Street Style, Toronto has JusReign. There's a big Punjabi community here in Vancouver, and we wanted to showcase that," said the duo.

And the response they have generated has not been limited to the Punjabi community.

"It's been amazing because people have been so eager to get involved. The support has not only been from the Punjabi community but also beyond that. That's really great for us because our aim is for people outside of the Punjabi community to appreciate the turban," they said.

Indeed Turban-Esque's slogan projects the need for respect for the turban in religion while also incorporating it into the modern world -- Fashion admiration. Crown appreciation.

But like every new thing, they also faced problems. "Initially, we could not contact people to be featured. But now people reach out to us and ask us to feature them," they said.

The recently featured individuals are Jaiinder Singh, Pawan Kaur Bassra, and Poonam Kaur.

New Westminster-based Jaiinder Singh is a respiratory therapist. "I've always kept my Sikh identity and maintained Sikhi. My style inspiration came from my dad: he was in banking, an industry dominated by ‘white’ people. He was the only Punjabi and always represented himself in a professional and sophisticated way through his fashion," said Jaiinder.

"The feedback from being featured on Turban-Esque was amazing and better than I had imagined. There isn't much discrimination in Vancouver as the community is big, staying true to roots may seem hard but presenting yourself well is key," he added.

Pawan Kaur Bassra in Surrey is studying to be a psychiatric nurse. "It feels amazing to be featured on Turban-Esque. I've always felt there was a great need for a fashion blog for Gursikh men and women," said Pawan.

"Turban-Esque goes beyond fashion. It is also one of the many ways to inspire and attract the younger generation towards our religion which is very much in need without worrying about sacrificing fashion and lifestyle to blend in with the Western world," she added.

Being asked whether sticking to Punjabi and Sikh roots is hard, she said: "Not at all. Handling a negative response and taking it positively is a state of mind, Guru Nanak did so much for this world, various religions, taking all mankind as one, yet there were mudslingers along the way. But our Guru never gave up, so why should I?"

24-year-old Poonam Kaur, born and raised in Richmond, aspires to be a Youth Probation Officer.

"How you dress is how you portray yourself. My dastaar is my biggest inspiration, it's not just a cloth I wrap around my head, it's a feeling of expression," she said.

Poonam adopted the turban when she was 10. "My day starts with what colour dastaar I'm in the mood for. My dastaar was one thing I thought people would say something about, which they do, but it's always positive. People admire that there are women who stick to their roots. People always tell me how beautiful I look with my Dastaar and that I stand out, which is exactly why Guru Gobind Singh blessed us with this image. I am not only representing myself, but I have been given the honour to represent my faith," she said.

About being featured on Turban-Esque, she said: "It felt great to be featured. The whole team is amazing and very welcoming and is doing a fantastic job by showcasing modern Sikh style because every showcase has been different."

[Courtesy: Times of India. Edited for]
May 4, 2015

Conversation about this article

1: Parmjit Singh (Canada), May 05, 2015, 1:37 AM.

Great website, great concept. Some beautiful work. But please live and let live. Why insult Sikhs by portraying the celebration of beard hacking? We were tortured for that to be done to us. Now we dress up to do it to ourselves? The latter is more painful.

2: Rup Singh (Canada), May 06, 2015, 4:08 PM.

Each photo set details and gives close ups of the brand of clothes and accessories, even shoes. But no mention of the style, fabric or length of the dastaar worn by the models? If added, it would indeed make the site unique ... and more useful.

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