A model staged a silent protest at the Gucci fashion week show in Milan on Sunday.
Dressed in a white jumpsuit that bore a strong resemblance to a straitjacket, Ayesha Tan-Jones took to the stage with “Mental health is not fashion” written on her hands. Whilst Gucci have stated that the designs were meant to represent “how through fashion, power is exercised over life, to eliminate self-expression”, Tan-Jones wrote on Instagram after the show, “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”, adding that Gucci’s use of images alluding to mental health was in poor taste.
Another post from the model the following day added that they, along with some of the other models in the show, would be donating a portion of their payment they received from Gucci to various mental health charities. “Many of the other Gucci models who were in the show felt just as strongly as I did about this depiction of straitjackets, and without their support I would not have had the courage to walk out and peacefully protest,” they said.
Gucci have responded stating that the jackets were to juxtapose the colourful designs across the rest of their of the Spring/Summer show, saying “These clothes were a statement for the fashion show and will not be sold.”
In February, Gucci were forced to remove a jumper being sold for approximately £715 from circulation, after many people criticised the jumper for resembling blackface as it covered half of the models face and had large, red lips knitted onto it. Rapper 50 Cent even took to burning his collection of Gucci clothing in response.