Ayesha Tan-Jones Gucci, A Model Staged A Runway Protest Against Gucci.
Gucci debuted its upcoming spring/summer 2020 collection at Milan Fashion Week over the weekend, and of the more than 90 new items featured, one caught the attention of Ayesha Tan-Jones, a participating model who staged a protest during the runway walk.
As noted by CNN, Tan-Jones was chosen to walk in a segment of the show that featured “utilitarian uniforms.” The featured items — which included an all-white straitjacket and matching pants — will not be for sale, and were meant to “represent how through fashion, power is exercised over life, to eliminate self-expression,” the brand noted on Instagram. However, Tan-Jones disagreed with the use of the jackets, and wrote on their hands, “Mental health is not fashion.”
Tan-Jones later explained their protest decision on Instagram, writing, “As an artist and model who has experienced my own struggles with mental health, as well as family members and loved ones who have been affected by depression, anxiety, bipolar and schizophrenia, it is hurtful and insensitive for a major fashion house such as Gucci to use this imagery as a concept for a fleeting fashion moment.” They continued, noting, “It is in bad taste for Gucci to use the imagery of straitjackets and outfits alluding to mental patients, while being rolled out on a conveyor belt as if a piece of factory meat.”
Many on social media appeared to support the model, and one day later, Tan-Jones shared a thank-you for the comments, writing, “The support people have shown to my act is more than I could imagine, so I only trust that we will share this same support to our friends, siblings, loved ones, acquaintances, internet friends or even strangers, who might be going through tough times with their Mental Health.”
The brand explained a bit more about the uniforms in an Instagram post, writing, “Uniforms, utilitarian clothes, normative dress, including straitjackets, were included in the #GucciSS20 fashion show as the most extreme version of a uniform dictated by society and those who control it. These clothes were a statement for the fashion show and will not be sold.” In a statement to the New York Times, Gucci’s Alessandro Michele also explained the design, saying, “I wanted to show how society today can have the ability to confine individuality and that Gucci can be the antidote. For me, the show was the journey from conformity to freedom and creativity. Uniforms, utilitarian clothes, such straitjackets, were included in the fashion show as the most extreme version of restriction imposed by society and those who control it. These clothes were a statement for the fashion show and part of a performance.”