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Karanjee Singh Gaba: The Face of Fashion Changing Landscapes

Updated: Apr 11

Written By Sameen Ayub


We are children of division. It is in our genes, across our homelands. When our culture is disrupted, labelled as controversial and incorrect, we want to protect it and defend it to the world. Until the divisions we grew up with are seen in our present rhetoric and until we believe unevidenced hierarchies to be true. We are also children of beautifying culture, ever evolving and unique to our experiences. How does one make peace with the two? Karanjee Singh Gaba is the right person to ask.


A peaceful and endearing demeanour, Karanjee speaks with me about his South Asian identity, divine inspirations and most prominently, his resilient message of the power in bringing people together. A well established and captivating model, he hopes his work can also be his vessel to teach the values of Sikhism and provide union where there was once turmoil. 


Disturb The Peace Shoot Credits:

Model: Karanjee Singh Gaba

Creative Director: Sophia Green

Producer: Aaliya Choudhury

Photographer: Riki Verma

Photography Assistant: Hara Kaur

BTS Photographer: Sophia Green & Elissa Shafeek

Interviewers: Devanshi Arora, Sameen Ayub, Leila Malik, Zulema Ali & Manvi Dixit

Videographer: Sophia Green

BTS & Content Videography: Diya Bechoo, Rajesh Bhovan & Shuma Begum

Stylist: Diya Bechoo 

HMUA: Sarah Haroon & Rajesh Bhovan

Runners: Hergun Virdi, Milan Dandwani & Saffah Anjum


Karanjee knows disruption more than most. Moving to the United Kingdom from Afghanistan, the culture he had always connected with was placed in an environment that required adaptation. Cultures should continually adapt but in a way that welcomes and homes willing contributors to it, allows room for new iterations and unique blends. Being away from home, rooting a new one, is described by Karanjee as a gradual yet necessary process and his personal culture, a lesson he is still learning about. Whilst he cannot predict what culture in the United Kingdom will look like in the future, the merging of differing ones within it makes him “pretty sure it’s going to be beautiful”.


It was the tools provided to him rather than a pre-determined pathway that allowed the modelling world to sneak up on Karanjee. His main of these granted tools is his religion and the natural progression of his work also permitted Sikh expression and the teaching of a culture many would not know existed. Afghan Sikhs, Karanjee tells me, were a large community, unbeknownst to most who may presume a Punjabi or Hindi heritage to all. 


Where discrimination and religious tension can disintegrate whole groups from their comforts of home, Sikh inspiration never falters. The Guru Nanak Dev Ji, I am taught, once travelled globally in efforts to spread the all-encompassing word that humanity is the greatest similarity between us all, that division is counterproductive and connection invaluable. It is this same message Karanjee wishes to translate through his medium of fashion. Whether it is being the presence that the media has underrepresented, teaching a stylist backstage what a turban is, or bumping into a New Yorker in Sweden who adores his creative practice, Karanjee exudes the beauty of being human on one Earth, together.


It is when Karanjee and I find ourselves discussing the meanings behind our respective head coverings, and he tells me his today is of Kenyan influence, that I am truly immersed in these ideals. The overarching message is this. Our generations and our mentalities have unwillingly homed division, allowing limitation to prevail. When we break from cyclical norms to instead wrap our arms around each other, we learn more vividly. Culture is collective, creativity is collective. It is time to put one another first.


 

This article was published in Volume 002, The New Generation. For more content check out our print magazine now!



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