When you hear the word ‘Sardar’, what comes to mind are endless (and pointless) SantaBanta jokes, Manmohan Singh, Navjyot Singh Sidhu‘s bellowing laugh and the token Bollywood buffoon. Yes, I will admit that ‘Sardars’ did have their time as the main lead on the big screen – but these men were turbaned non-Sikh stars with beards glued to their face – not the real thing. A half-Sikh fashion designer myself (here’s looking at you mum), it really excited me to come across Singh Street Style. I decided to check out Sikhs linked with fashion and discovered a line up of men whose sartorial pickings make me go ‘wow’. Here are 5 Sikh men in fashion you should know about:
2014 began with this picture from Louis Vuitton’s recent campaign circulating on every proud Sikh’s page. The broody, kohl rimmed, regal sardar in this image is 26 year old Jatinder Singh Durhailay – a model, musician and artist from East London. With strong individualism, colourful style and a penchant for the coolest turban accessrories, Durhailay screams style! The sitar playing painter & illustrator has exhibited his works at the Tate Modern and the National Army Museum. Overflowing with character, he has modeled for Louis Vuitton, Levi’s, Topman, GQ, ASOS and soon Adidas. Have a look at all his work here. Jatinder lays every sardar joke to rest with a twirled moustache and his turban that he wears with as much style as he does with pride.
Sundeep Caberwal’s foray into modeling was not premeditated. A recommendation by his brother-in-law in 2008 bagged Sonny a global campaign with Kenneth Cole, where he featured in a video called “We Walk in Different Shoes”. The Telegraph dubbed him as the first Sikh Super model after he appeared in a spread in GQ in 2009. The 34 year old comes with more than just extremely good looks and an impeccably tied turban – the American born Indian Sikh is an entrepreneur, IT developer and the owner of his very own tea lounge in New York. Sonny opened a gateway for the Sikh community in US post the negative 9/11 profiling and allowed young sardars to be proud of who they are.
Pardeep Singh Bahra, all of 22, is a photographer and stylist based in London, England and the founder of Singh Street Style, a blog that features stylish Sikh men on the streets. He started the blog in March 2013, after his own outfits posted on Instagram were drowned with likes. In his words, “I wanted to bring two cultures together, but also celebrate the individuality of Sikh men”. He calls himself “The Turbaned Fashion Blogger” and has already been recognized by many fashion portals including Vogue.in, The Guardian, and New York Daily. His style can be described as preppy meets dandy.
Fun Fact: Jatinder Singh Durhailay was his first post on Singh Street Style.
This sardar I’ve had the pleasure of knowing personally. Still a fledgling in the fashion industry, Param is a designer with Manish Arora and a freelance stylist. He’s always a highlight to watch at Manish’s atelier, currently he designs for Manish’s label Indian by Manish Arora. His patka is as well dressed as his body, Param’s look is fun fun fun! Bright turbans, quirky eyewear, kitschy accessories, expert layering and an explosion of colour is the way this young designer wears his look.
Waris Ahluwalia is undoubtedly the most famous Sikh man in fashion. He is one of the most photographed men in the art & fashion circles. A good friend of Tilda Swinton (if Tilda approves, I concur!!), Waris has featured in numerous best dressed lists – Vanity Fair, GQ (to name some), placed in Vogue’s 10 Most Impactful people list and has his own column ‘Love & Waris’ on Style.com. His look is tailored to perfection and completed with ta rademark black turban. Almost 40, Waris has his own jewellery line, owns a chain of boutiques called House of Waris Rare, has featured in the Gap’s current ad campaign and has acted in many movies including Wes Anderson’s “Darjeeling Limited” and the soon to release “Grand Budapest Hotel”. Check out this fun video that spells his style.