You might recognize her by her dastaar.
You might recognize her by her cool pants.
You might recognize her by her creative outfits.
You probably know her as Style with Kaur!
Meet 20 year old, Karan Preet Kaur of Sydney, Australia! Karan runs the Instagram account “Style with Kaur,” showcasing her Sikhi and fashionable outfits.
Kaur Life got the chance to sit down with Karan and chat about her fashion experience. She talked about empowerment, equality, religion, self expression, and authenticity.
The conversation was energetic, inspiring, and enlightening! Hope you enjoy it!
Fashion wasn’t something I became interested in. It was more of a passion of mine, something that I grew into. Ever since I can remember I’ve always loved clothing and dressing up. When I was younger, I would try on my mum’s or my older sister’s clothing. From dressing up my dolls to doing hair and makeup on my family members, I have always been a “girly girl”.
I started taking fashion more seriously when I started wearing a dastaar. That’s when I realized that people in the Western world are actually going to start noticing me, because of my dastaar. I became a walking advertisement for Sikhi. I wanted to wearing clothing that didn’t just represent myself, but my religion as well. I wanted to represent myself in a good light and for other people not to get the wrong impression about who Sikhs are.
I was only 16 when I started wearing a dastaar, so I didn’t really know who I was in society. Fashion was what changed that and allowed me to find my personality through my style like the quote says, “Fashion is what you adopt when you don’t know who you are.” The most exciting aspect of when I started wearing a dastaar was that I got to experiment different fashion trends to make my very own unique style- it was and still is such a fulfilling experiment.
KL: Who influences your fashion?
There isn’t any significant person that influences me and my fashion. Like I said, fashion has always been something I’ve been interested in. In saying that, my dad is actually really fashionable. I’ve always seen him put together so nicely and he has always been so stylish. People in the Western society always compliment his style and the way he dresses. Some say I get my fashion sense from him.
A lot of my family and friends had told me to start up a fashion blog for Kaurs, so I thought why not start it on Instagram and see where it goes. As everyone knows that “Singh Street Style” is doing an amazing job for all the Singhs out there in the fashion industry. But, there has never been a turbaned Kaur represented in that light and I wanted to change that.
A Sikh woman has never been acknowledged at an international level about her appearance. Yes, there have been women out there that have been recognized due to their academic career. I have not once seen anyone comment or appreciate a women’s dastaar or her sense of style on an international scale in the fashion industry. There have been Sikh turbaned men that have made it onto movies, magazines or become high end models. Sikh women have always been left behind it all because she is a woman. Our religion is all about women’s equality but it’s sad to see that there has not been much evidence of that in this day and age. I want to change that, I want to make a name for myself and other Kaurs out there. I think it would really interesting to see what the fashion industry has to say about turbaned Kaurs.
KL: How did the Instagram account “Style with Kaur” start? What’s its origin story?
It is a very random story. My younger sister, Avneet, and I were just really bored one weekend and decided to go out and take photos not knowing I’d finally start my Instagram account. Avneet was the one who made my Instagram account and everything, I was too scared. I was just sitting there thinking, “Yeah, whatever.” I had NO idea, I mean NO idea that it would get as popular as it has.
KL: How did you pick the name “Style with Kaur”?
When i thought of making a fashion blog I didn’t want to incorporate Sikhi into it and turn it into Sikhi blog. I felt that it would become controversial and I honestly didn’t know how people would react to it. At first, I was confused as to what I should name it so the first week of making my blog, “Style With No Name” was the name. A week later my family encouraged me to change the name to “Style With Kaur.” We felt that the new name would attract more people from both Western and Eastern cultures and the new name would better illustrate my whole mission and aim. Changing the name to “Style with Kaur” was the best decision I have made since starting this blog.
Its been 50% positive and 50% negative.
Putting yourself out there is a very scary and daunting thing especially when you live in a very small community where no one has never done anything like it before. So of course, they’ll be different reactions to ‘Style with Kaur’. I knew by putting myself out there on an international platform especially on social media, where there is a wide range of audiences, along with using the words “style’ and “Kaur” in the same sentence as my name, may provoke controversial comments. It was inevitable. I was aware that some people were not going to accept my page.
However, the positive response has honestly been overwhelming and overshadows the negative. I will forever be grateful for all the immense love and support I have received. I never knew that by starting “Style with Kaur” I would get this many followers this quickly. My intention or aim was never to inspire people or anything in that sense, but since making this page I’ve received many messages and emails from people who said they are inspired by me and they also want to start wearing a dastaar and even receive Amrit! When I receive such emails, I feel so blessed that my page is actually impacting a lot of girls without even me preaching. I have definitely not reached a spiritual level where I can preach about Sikhi and encourage people to start wearing a dastaar or receive Amrit, but if by putting up pictures is getting people inspired and coming in the line of Sikhi then this is something I will not be stopping.
I also receive comments from people of the Muslim faith. For instance, Thehijabstylist messaged me, “You are seriously way to cool. I love what you do! Rock that turban xox “I responded, “OMG! Thank you SO much! Your comment made me smile so much.” To which Thehijabstylist replied, “Truly meant it! Much love xx”
I love how fashion brings everyone together regardless of religion or race. Its such an amazing thing to witness. Comments like these are what keeps me motivated to continue doing “Style with Kaur”
KL: How do you mentally and emotionally cope with the haters?
When I first started out, those hate comments would affect me and I’d think “Why are people so mean?” But eventually I started realizing that I want to prove them wrong and continue doing this- like the saying goes, “Haters are my motivators.”
It honestly doesn’t bother me now. I just laugh it off. My family and friends are my biggest support system. Without their encouragement and assistant i would not be able to continue “Style with Kaur.”
I believe my dastaar is a part of me and to be honest, it’s what makes my outfits look good and “stylish”. My dastaar is the first thing people notice. This means, I always try to match my dastaar colour to whatever outfit I’m going to be wearing. I’m obsessed with wearing different patterned dastaars. I feel like its such a unique look. Some people might not agree it to be in the Sikh norm to wear such dastaars, but I believe being unique is what differentiates us Sikhs from others.
ਜਬ ਲਗ ਖਾਲਸਾ ਰਹੇ ਨਿਆਰਾ, ਤਬ ਲਗ ਤੇਜ ਦੀਓ ਮੈ ਸਾਰਾ ॥
“As long as Khalsa preserves its uniqueness and follows the path of true Guru I will bless them with all of my powers.”
KL: How do you stay fashionable when a lot of trendy clothes expose a lot of skin or expect women to shave?
First of all, I don’t recommend you follow trends. You should construct your own ideas and incorporate it into your style. The most exiting part when I started wearing a dastaar was trying not to follow the trends because obviously you cant wear half of them. Having a unique style is really important, it’s what defines who you are without saying anything.
I think saying you can’t be fashionable because you keep all of your kesh is just an excuse. There are so many clothes out there that people can choose from. Just be creative and think outside of the box. Don’t be scared to express who you are. In order to build a solid wardrobe to accommodate to your needs and your style, it is important to invest in the right staples that doesn’t show off too much skin or your kesh.
Being in the Australian heat, its hard to wear certain clothing and still look stylish. I tend to wear loose thin material jeanie pants (aka harem pants) with a basic T-shirt and a statement necklace to top it off.
KL: How do you respond to people who say being fashionable and Sikhi don’t go hand in hand?
When you live the Western world, its hard not to be fashionable. I believe there should be a balance of fashion and faith. It’s up to you how fashionable you want to be, but still keeping the Sikh rehat in mind. Being on social media I want to represent Sikhi in the best way as possible. If our Gurus fought for our identity, why should we hide it. We should let the world know who we are. If our Gurus dressed like royalty, why can’t we?
To represent Sikhi well, we need to put our best foot forward because people outside our Sikh community will make snap judgements by looking at you. We want to have a welcoming appearance where they can come up to us and ask questions as to why we wear a turban etc. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being fashionable- it gives a good impression of who Sikhs are.
Like I said, it’s important to have a balance between fashion and faith. In other words, not to wear clothes that are giving the wrong impression. You’re setting an example not just for yourself, but for other Kaurs.
I cannot express how important it is to be yourself. I use fashion to represent who I am. I make my personality shout through my clothing. I want people to know who I am without me saying anything. The number one step in finding your fashion philosophy is to be honest to yourself. The worst thing you can do and the biggest gap in defining your style is wearing clothes to simply to “fit in” or to have a sense of belonging. Keeping it real and being true to yourself is the only way on discovering your style journey. You don’t want to portray yourself as someone you’re not.
I like to think that developing your style is like painting a picture. You body is the blank canvas and your clothing is the artwork. By using your imagination you are able to create an outfit according to the occasion, weather or your mood just like a piece of painting.
KL: What advice do you have for people who want to go from frumpy to fashionable?
Like I said before, you have to be true to yourself. Well, if you’re frumpy, then that’s you. You don’t have to change. Be authentic to yourself. But if you want to change, I suggest you wear clothes that are true to yourself and that you’re comfortable in.
When I was growing up in my teenage years, I would try to follow trends so I could “fit in” with my friends, but I started realizing that this isn’t me and I definitely wasn’t comfortable in wearing these clothes and more importantly I wasn’t being true to myself. Plus, being a turbaned Sikh, it’s hard to follow trends because truth be told, you cant wear half of the clothes anyway.
“This is who I am,” is what the clothes should say.
I get mine tailor made with a thin fabric and fitted to my comfort.
KL: What is your future goal and vision for “Style with Kaur”?
I definitely don’t want to limit myself just to an Instagram account. I’m currently working on my website which will be my platform to express my work and ideas and help other Kaurs out there. I would also love to start making Youtube videos in the near future.
KL: What is your fashion dream or goal?
There is so much I want to achieve and do, but my number one goal is to one day have a clothing line dedicated to Kaurs. A clothing line that Sikh women will feel comfortable in wearing.
I see so many Muslim women launching clothing lines to cater to their needs. Not only do they have clothing lines they also have Muslim/Hijab fashion week where they can showcase their work. I think that is such an amazing achievement. Hopefully in time we will be able to do similar things.
Karan Kaur has had a far reaching impact on people across the world. As of today, she has over 5,0000 followers on Instagram.
Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa of Perth, Australia, described Karan as brave. “She isn’t afraid to dress the way she wants to while wearing a dastaar. There are a lot of Singhs out there doing great work in the fashion industry but unfortunately, the work that Kaurs do often gets overlooked and labeled as superficial. Fashion isn’t just about looking pretty, it’s about the freedom to express and the right to your own body.”
Pardeep Singh Bahra, the founder of Singh Street Style, also had kind words about Karan’s work. “The very beautiful fashion blogger from Australia is killin’ it with her amazing outfits! I am so proud of her, she is a Queen with her crown, wearing it loud and proudly, representing not only the Kaurs, and not only Sikhs, but ALL women from over the world! She represents the equality between man and woman. Support her!”
For more fashionable outfits, check out the “Style with Kaur” Instagram account. Karan Kaur, the turbaned style enthusiast, can be reached at StyleWithKaur@gmail.com.