Recently, the clothing company GAP released a poster that showed a man wearing GAP clothing, with a beard and a turban. The poster, which also featured a woman leaning on his shoulder, was posted along the walls of the subway and in the windows of stores. It is part of a new campaign from GAP that is called “Make Love”. The make model in the ad is Waris Ahluwalia, who is a Sikh actor and model. The purpose of the ad was to make someone in a turban completely different than the stereotypes that have been going around – to make someone in a turban beautiful, dignified and not someone who is a foreigner or a terrorist, but an American, wearing GAP clothing.
This was great news for the Sikh community, who believe in wearing the turban and long hair as a sign of their faith. Many Americans have viewed those wearing a turban with – at the very least – guarded skepticism – and usually as a terrorist. However, almost everyone in the United States who wears a turban in a Sikh. Often, they wear five different things to show their faith and represent their commitment to justice and service. The ad from GAP was found defaced on the wall of the New York subway. The GAP logo, “Make Love” was crossed out and the words “Make Bombs” was written there instead. Someone else had written “Please stop driving TAXIS” below that.
This isn’t that uncommon of a sight in New York, but GAP decided to do something about it after the photograph was shared and went viral on Twitter. GAP started the process of fixing the defaced ads within a day and then moved the ad to the background page of Twitter and Facebook. They also released a statement saying “Gap is a brand that celebrates inclusion and diversity.” This caused a reaction and a chorus of Thank You’s from the community at large on Facebook and Twitter.