Indian American Waris Ahluwalia Stars in Gap’s Latest Holiday Campaign

San Francisco-based retailer, Gap, has quickly created a positive buzz with its latest campaign. Designer/actor Waris Ahluwalia, arguably one of the most prominent Indian American and Sikh figures in the fashion world (just check his Style.com pages), is one of the campaign’s featured faces.

Just released at the start of the month, the campaign stars a slew of personalities including Ahluwalia (as well as this year’s Unforgettable host, Lisa Ling) and has drawn a number of positive comments for the diversity in its casting.

Seen alongside artist and filmmaker Quentin Jones, Ahluwalia is seen modelling the mega-retailer’s latest holiday fashions — a puffer vest and a button down shirt.  But it’s not just the clothes that have created a buzz.  In an industry that often draws flak and criticism for its lack of diversity, the conscious decision to cast and feature Ahluwalia as one of the faces of a globally-recognized brand is undoubtedly a needed change, a powerful statement on representation and tolerance and a much-needed step forward.

Many fans have been quick to show their support.  On Gap’s Facebook page, the photo featuring Ahluwalia has already garnered over 700+ likes and quite a few positive comments.  A sampling of which is below:

Keenu Hundal Saw this ad in teh (sic) downtown San Francisco store and literally stopped in my tracks. I was so happy to see you all select a Sikh male in your new ad campaign. We need to make the Sikh male image more mainstream in order to educate the general public on who we are, so that ignorace does not breed hate any longer. Thank you, Gap!

Charu Kapoor Deshpande You guys have truly raised the advertising/marketing bar … Bravo for making a statement by setting yourselves apart and recognizing how the world had changed and is changing! Best campaign I have ever seen because you stepped outside the box!! Bravo

 

Suvraj Mandeep Thank you Gap. It’s such a proudest moment to finally see that major designer store has choose Sikh as there Frontwall model who is actually a pure Sikh (the one who wears Turban and has full beard). Truly, a vary proud moment for all the Sikhs. Finally, putting Gap to my top list for shopping this holiday!

 

With such a positive response, we can only hope that this helps mark a new, more diverse, more representative era in the often-exclusionary world of fashion.

 

Flashback Friday: Lisa Ling & The Early Days of “Our America”

This story was originally published in our Spring 2011 issue. Get your copy here. 
Story by Janice Jann

Our America (OWN) | Lisa Ling, 37, brings the glorious melting pot of America to television in her new investigative series, Our America, on the Oprah Winfrey Network, airing Wednesdays at 10 pm. Here, the seasoned journalist gives us the scoop on her new gig. 

Audrey Magazine: What is Our America about?
Lisa Ling: I grew up as an Asian American, a Chinese American, not feeling like I fit into any culture. This series is kind of a window into who we are as Americans.

AM: You’ve reported all over the world. Why focus on America now?
LL: I worked in so many different parts of the world, but I found myself fascinated by things that were happening in our own backyards.

AM: Do you think Our America covers lighter topics than your previous shows?
LL: [The National Geographic shows] are fascinating to do, but I believe these shows have more heart than anything I’ve ever done. No matter the topic, we feature people who ultimately came from a mother who love him or her. That’s something I keep in the back of my mind.

AM: I’ve heard that faith is something you tackle in this series.
LL: It is. I think a lot comes out of the fact that I’ve been searching for a long time. I have seen a lot that made me question God. But what my husband helped me realize — he’s a man of strong faith — is God works in everyone and if you are questioning where God is, then it’s a sign that maybe God wants to work in you to try to be a light. I’m fascinated by this topic. I can’t stop thinking about it.

AM: What’s cool about OWN?
LL: There’s a lot of heart behind every show that is being produced and I’ve never had that experience working in TV before. It’s really unique.