Chicago Looks: Sikh Chic

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Brothers Jagmeet and Gurratan Dhaliwal were hanging out with their friends in Wicker Park.

What’s your ancestry?
Our culture and origin is from Punjab, a land located between Pakistan and India at the foothills of the Himalayas. We are people who have strong ties to the land with a culture intimately tied with nature and agriculture. Our religion is Sikhism, which is also the source of our distinct look. The majority of Sikhs are from Punjab. Sikhism is the fifth-largest religion in the world with over twenty million adherents. Our main spiritual beliefs are to pursue a life dedicated to the one Universal Energy—also known as God—through honest work, sharing what we have and meditation.

How does your cultural heritage influence what you wear?
The strongest influence of our cultural heritage on what we wear would be the turban. A component of the Sikh spirituality is keeping one’s body whole and natural. The result of this belief is the Sikh practice of not cutting one’s hair—as to not alter the natural state of the human body. Though you cannot tell, our turbans are filled with hair that hasn’t been cut. We tie turbans for spiritual, social and practical reasons. Spiritually it demonstrates our commitment to live a life based on compassion and to Sikh ideals. Socially it creates a connection among the Sikh community and a strong sense of identity, and it represents a pledge to uphold social justice. Practically it allows us to keep our long hair in a neat and tidy manner.

How does one make a look that is both traditional and modern?
One blends tradition and modernity by being creative, but still committing to their traditions and beliefs. In terms of fashion we have both experimented with different looks over the years, and the turban has evolved with it. Our current look and the turban work wonderfully. Traditionally the turban was a sign of royalty. We work to reflect royalty in our look by dressing in an attire that is marked by sophistication, professionalism and distinction—with a turban that crowns it all.

—Interview and photo by Isa Giallorenzo

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