When actor, model and jewellery designer Waris Ahluwalia and the politics of his turban came in the forefront in February, the news angered Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike. He was barred from boarding a Mexico flight for refusing to remove his turban. But apart from the racial profiling, what the incident also did was turn Waris into a fashion icon of sorts. Here was a man, not only comfortable with his identity, but who also showed how the turban can be an object of everyday experimentation and fashion among young Sikh men. While Waris is mostly seen donning a black turban, his presence in the fashion world gave men from his community the confidence to experiment.
Though turbans have always been subject to considerable stylistic variation, what wasn’t okay with Charanjeev Singh, a head of marketing for financial services, was the hesitance among Indian Sikh men in experimenting with the colour of their turban. “All you saw throughout 2014 was blacks and blues – nothing beyond that. It was like they were scared of experimenting with colours. Ask them if they’d wear a bright pink turban and they would roll their eyes. I didn’t get what the hesitance was all about,” he told us. Also, to maintain his beard, Charanjeev says he had to import beard care products and shampoos, as there were close to no options available within the country. The unpopularity of these products and Sikh grooming options in India, or the lack thereof, is what inspired Charanjeev to come up with an online store that would take care of all grooming and styling needs of Sikh men – he named it Singh Styled.
October 2015 is when Singh, with a little help from his friends, came up with this platform that curates products and services for Sikhs and lets them know what colours are trending and what’s the latest in Sikh fashion. Calling themselves ‘dressers for the Singhs’, their online store can be looked into for three things – fashionable turbans in a variety of shades, inexpensive beard care products and fancy subscription boxes.
The turbans, available in aqua blue, emerald green, mud brown, valentine pink etc., are easy on the pocket with a starting price of INR 240. The beard care products include a Citrus beard oil (INR 399), a beard cleanser and conditioner (INR 299), a beard comb (INR 259), a beard brush (from INR 299 to INR 2,999), among other things. The subscription box, which is usually bought for gifting purposes, includes turban styling and beard grooming products priced between INR 1500 to 2500, the contents of which change every month.
Surprisingly, 68% of the consumers of the store are non-Sikh. These are the people confused about what to gift their sardaar friends, Charanjeev tells us. And rightly so, the store is perfect if you’re looking for an ideal birthday gift for your Sikh buddy, especially the limited edition accessories that come with the subscription box.
The products available at the store were personally tested on Charanjeev himself. His team, which includes stylists and grooming experts, tested the beard oil and shampoo on Charanjeev to make sure they were of the quality they expect to give their consumers. The Singh Styled website also has an editorial section on all Sikh-related fashion. Products from Singh Styled can be shipped worldwide, with free shipping for orders above INR 799.
After a tour of their website, we’d happily recommend these affordable products if you’re a Sikh or if you’re looking for a quirky present for your friend.