Just when you thought that green dress revival by Jennifer Lopez and Versace was the biggest thing to happen at Milan Fashion Week, Gucci took to the runway.
This year, Gucci decided to get ‘deep’ with its collection, by putting its models in jumpsuits that resemble straitjackets.
According to BBC, Gucci said the idea behind the collection was to show “how through fashion, power is exercised over life, to eliminate self-expression”.
I haven’t had enough coffee to unpack whatever that’s supposed to mean.
Model Ayesha Tan-Jones didn’t take too kindly to the concept and decided to stage a silent protest on the runway.
Tan-Jones, who is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, wrote “Mental health is not fashion” on their hands.
Posting on Instagram after the show, Tan-Jones wrote: “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.”
Later on, Tan-Jones announced that they and some of the other models in the show were donating a portion of the fees they were paid by Gucci to mental health charities.
In response, Gucci said the jackets were meant to be an antidote to the colourful designs in the rest of the Spring/Summer 2020 show.
“These clothes were a statement for the fashion show and will not be sold,” Gucci said.
Tan-Jones’s protest comes just months after Gucci appointed a diversity chief, Renée Tirado, prompted by two incidents earlier in the year.
That’s awkward. Almost like Gucci has been reading from the same playbook as those fools who made the Sandy Hook / Columbine hoodies.
In February, Gucci was forced to withdraw a jumper after critics said it resembled a blackface minstrel. The black balaclava jumper, which was being sold for n $890 (£715), covered half of the model’s face and had large red lips knitted onto it.
Oh, yes, we remember that one. It was not a good look
Then in May, the fashion house was accused of cultural appropriation for a $790 headpiece that looked like a Sikh turban. It attracted criticism from the US-based Sikh Coalition, which tweeted: “The Sikh turban is not just a fashion accessory, but it’s also a sacred religious article of faith.”
Gucci, it might be time to rethink everything.
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