Fashion

Gucci Model Stages Protest During Milan Fashion Week Catwalk: "Mental Health Is Not Fashion"

Read Ayesha Tan Jones’ statement here.

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Gucci Model Stages Protest During Milan Fashion Week Catwalk: "Mental Health Is Not Fashion"

Read Ayesha Tan Jones’ statement here.

At Gucci’s Spring/Summer 2020 show during Milan Fashion Week, model Ayesha Tan Jones staged a protest while walking in the the runway show.

The non-binary musician and artist, who’s also known as YaYa Bones, was among a group of models that opened the Gucci show in a lineup of plain white garments resembling straitjackets. In a bleak-looking, brightly-lit clinical space, the models were sent down moving walkways. It was then when YaYa held up their hands to reveal the message, “mental health is not fashion.” According to The Guardian, a Gucci spokesperson confirmed that the protest “was not planned” as part of the presentation.

The model later took to Instagram to explain their actions in a statement:

“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.

Many people with mental health issues are still stigmatized in workplace and in daily life, while many people still do not consider mental health issues as ‘real illnesses’ as they may not be visible. Straitjackets are a symbol of a cruel time in medicine when mental illness was not understood, and people’s rights and liberties were taken away from them, while they were abused and tortured in the institution.

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.

Presenting these struggles as props for selling clothes in today’s capitalist climate is vulgar, unimaginative and offensive to the millions of people around the world affected by these issues.”

Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele later expressed in a press conference that he had been thinking about humanity and uniforms, saying “a uniform is something that blocks and constrains you – that makes you anonymous. That makes you follow the direction of travel.” The designer was cited saying that the straitjacket was “the highest type of uniform.”

Take a look at YaYa’s statement, as well as images of the clothing and show space below.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

STATEMENT for my protest of the @gucci show ✊? MENTAL HEALTH IS NOT FASHION

A post shared by YaYa Bones (@ayeshatanjones) on

 

View this post on Instagram

 

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. @alessandro_michele designed these blank-styled clothes to represent how through fashion, power is exercised over life, to eliminate self-expression. This power prescribes social norms, classifying and curbing identity. The Creative Director’s antidote is seen in the Gucci Spring Summer 2020 lineup of 89 looks, he has designed a collection that conveys fashion as a way to allow people to walk through fields of possibilities, cultivate beauty, make diversity sacrosanct and celebrate the self in expression and identity. #AlessandroMichele

A post shared by Gucci (@gucci) on

The second half of the SS20 show was marked by a lineup of polished, sultry looks that contrasts sharply with the quirky aesthetic Michele’s Gucci has become known for. From nods to the brand’s ’90s archive to BDSM references, see Gucci’s new look by checking out a selection of outfits from the show.

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