Last year, clothing retailer H&M made headlines for its “Close the Loop” ad campaign promoting consumer clothing recycling. The campaign includes models from all walks of life, body types, and cultures, and one part of the campaign features a row of bearded Sikh men wearing color-coordinated suits and turbans. Recently, these chic Sikh men were displayed on the H&M digital billboard in Times Square, New York City.
London-based menswear blogger Pardeep Singh Bahra, founder of Singh Street Style, was featured in the H&M ad alongside 10 other Sikh men. He took to social media to express his appreciation.
“First Sikhs to model for H&M," he wrote on Facebook last Wednesday. “So humbled. I still feel so grateful every time I see this.”
This isn’t the first time turbaned Sikh men have featured in ads for clothing companies. In 2013, Waris Ahluwalia, who earlier this week was not allowed onto a flight due to his turban, posed with filmmaker Quentin Jones in Gap Inc.’s “Make Love” holiday ad campaign. The campaign's posters were defaced, causing Gap to restore them and change its social media pictures to pictures of Ahluwalia and Jones.
In 2008, Kenneth Cole launched an ad campaign called “We All Walk in Different Shoes” featuring Sonny Caberwal — a Sikh entrepreneur.
“Fashion- like music, art, and movies- has the ability to help people perceive things in a different way,” Caberwal told NBC News. “People are drawn to great brands not because of the designer or the model, but how the brand, designer, and models make the customer feel about themselves.”