A Gucci model, Ayesha Tan Jones staged a protest while walking the ramp at the Milan Fashion Week on September 22. The model had 'Mental Health Is Not Fashion' written on her hands while she was on her way to the runway. A Press officer confirmed that the protest was not planned. Ayesha Tan Jones posted the video on her Instagram account as well, showing her protest against straitjackets being used by brands at fashion shows. She wrote that the straitjackets symbolize a cruel time in medicine when mental illness was not understood. She says that Gucci's use of the imagery is hurtful and insensitive. The spokesperson for Gucci said the uniforms and straitjackets were not to be sold and were just used as a statement for the show.
Ayesha explained her move in an Instagram post saying she condemns Gucci's actions as she has also experienced challenges with mental health. The 26-year-old model claimed she has family members and loved ones who have suffered depression, anxiety bipolar and schizophrenia and that it was insensitive for a leading brand like Gucci to trivialize this issue in the name of fashion. Ayesha explained that there many people who suffer from mental health issues and are looked down upon at the workplace and daily life.
'Mental health issues are not considered by a lot of people as real illness issues as they can't be physically seen. The straitjackets were used at a time when the problems related to mental health were not understood and the rights of those suffering were taken away from them and they tortured in the institution.
Misusing struggles as props for selling clothes is offensive to the millions of people across the world who are struggling with their own mental issues. The Instagram post has since earner Ayesha a lot of positive comments and support. who appreciated her for taking such a bold and decisive step.
The Italian luxury brand of fashion and leather goods shared pictures of models in those outfits on social media after the fashion show where one of the models protested. Gucci while sharing the pictures wrote that these uniforms including straitjackets were a part of their GucciSS20 fashion show as an extreme version of a uniform that was dictated by the society including the ones who control it. Gucci said the clothes were a statement for their show and that these outfits will not be for sale. The creative director Alessandro Michele designed the clothes to show how through fashion, power is exercised over life to eliminate self-expression. The outfits were to celebrate the self in expression and identity.
#intheseclothes is an open conversation on how clothes can define our identity and tell our story, and sometimes make history: the world's, or our own—an idea explored by #AlessandroMichele in the #GucciSS20 fashion show. Join the discussion. pic.twitter.com/3ApCczZWRe— gucci (@gucci) September 22, 2019