Canadian owned retail brand Reitman’s has launched a new campaign and collection, Diversity is the Fabric of Canada, showcasing seven inspiring women from diverse backgrounds that created patterns reflecting who they are and each of their unique cultural backgrounds.
Designer, stylist, and influencer Sandy Kaur Gill, better known by her Instagram name - @THESANDYLION is one of the creators part of the collaboration, adding her own signature flair with her collection and staying true to her roots.
As the new diversity ambassador for Reitmans, Gill is adding yet another company to the list of brands she worked with which have included Nike, The Toronto Raptors, Apple and Swimco.
Reitman’s, however, has provided the opportunity to do something unique and allow Gill to intertwine elements of her South Asian heritage in the collection which includes scarves, tote bags and t-shirts.
With vibrant colours and patterns, the unique designs tell a story directly reflecting Punjabi culture in hopes that women like her feel represented.
In a 2019 interview with We Are Sikhs, Gill has said her “upbringing as a Sikh woman has been very visible” in all her work, as she deeply cherishes her Punjabi heritage.
Another example of staying true to herself and heritage is a creation famously known as “The Sandy Suit,” which has been worn by many public figures including Humble the Poet, Utkarsh Ambudkar (at the Oscars) and Nabela Noor to name a few.
“This suit is my love letter to my heritage, my obsession with art, and my desire to make people feel great and more confident about themselves,” she wrote in an Instagram post.
Her passion behind every design is a reflection of her own experiences with being Punjabi. She has said that her role as an educator and as a stylist often intersects with Punjabi Sikh teachings.
Sikhi, meaning to learn, has remained the backbone behind her work. Her purpose has always remained to help people in learning lifelong habits on how to feel good about themselves.
Part of the campaign involves each ambassador choosing a cause important to them for a portion of the proceeds to be donated towards. Gill chose to support SEVA Food Bank, an initiative by the Sikh community to help address food insecurity in Mississauga.
Seva, meaning service also interpreted as dedication to others, has also been a huge influence for Gill “because to give back to our community is everything,” as she discussed in an interview with We Are Sikhs.
She is truly an inspiration to us all as she continues to educate and teach within the community and by taking a worldly approach in wanting to educate others on cultural diversity and inclusion through unique avenues like fashion. This is also a massive move forward in terms of women empowerment and representation of different types of beauty all wrapped up in one amazing campaign.
Check out the collection now available at Reitmans.
Navneet holds a bachelor’s degree focused in Health Science - Population and Quantitative Studies from Simon Fraser University, cultivating a passion for health promotion, policy and social justice. She has recently found a passion in writing about pop-culture, mental health and living in a South Asian diaspora. Her passion for feminism, diversity and progress lights a fire beneath everything she does. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, travelling and baking.