Model Protests Gucci's 'Straitjackets' While Walking the Runway at Milan Fashion Week
Milan Fashion Week saw Gucci models walk the runway sporting prisonlike sandals and straitjackets that covered their bodies, before the brand moved on to a more conventional approach.
According to Gucci, the blank slate and pristine white clothing was meant to represent ""the most extreme version of a uniform dictated by society and those who control it."
According to Gucci, "These clothes were a statement for the fashion show and will not be sold."
Alessandro Michele made the "blank-styled clothes to represent how through fashion, power is exercised over life, to eliminate self-expression," Gucci wrote on Instagram, adding, "This power prescribes social norms, classifying and curbing identity."
The opening of the Gucci show in Milan saw the label's 20 models walk down the runway staring blankly ahead with their arms dangling limp at their sides. This was for all, but one.
Model Ayesha Tan-Jones, who identifies herself as gender-non-binary and uses pronouns they and them, had her arms raised with "MENTAL HEALTH" written on her palms, along with "IS NOT FASHION."
According to the Washington post, in a series of posts on Instagram after the fashion show, Tan-Jones revealed she decided to protest because she believes, as many of her fellow models do, that the stigma around mental health must end.
She further wrote that as an artist and model who has experienced her own struggles with mental health and with loved one who have been affected by depression, anxiety and bipolar disease and schizophrenia, "it is hurtful and insensitive for a major fashion house as Gucci to use this imagery as a concept for a fleeting fashion moment."
Tan-Jones continued on Instagram that "Strait Jackets 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."
The model went on to say that it was in bad taste for Gucci to use the imagery of strait jackets and outfits alluding to mental patients, while being rolled out on a conveyor belt as if a piece of meat.
In a separate statement she added, "Many of the other Gucci models who were in the show felt just as strongly as I did about this depiction of straightjackets, and without their support I would not have had the courage to walk out and peacefully protest. Some have chosen to donate a portion their fee, and I 100% of mine, to mental health charities, who are doing amazing work for people today!"
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Hello ✨ I just want to say Thank You for all the support so many of you have given me since I lifted my hands in peaceful protest on the Gucci Runway show yesterday 💖 I feel very blessed to be surrounded by supportive comrades, and to know that there are so many people sharing support online for this action ✊🏽 I want to use this opportunity to remind people that this sort of bravery, is only a simple gesture compared to the bravery that people with mental health issues show everyday. To have the bravery to get out of bed, to greet the day, and to live their lives is an act of strength, and I want to thank you for being here and being YOU ! ☀️ 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. Showing up for them may come in many forms, check in via text or DM, listen to them with patience and without judgement, offer a helping hand with household tasks like food shop, cooking or cleaning, regularly remind them how amazing and strong they are, but also that is okay feel the feels too, Lets show up for people with mental health and help end the stigma together !🌻 Many of the other Gucci models who were in the show felt just as strongly as I did about this depiction of straightjackets, and without their support I would not have had the courage to walk out and peacefully protest. Some have chosen to donate a portion their fee, and I 100% of mine, to mental health charities, who are doing amazing work for people today! Below are tags to some amazing charities that I encourage, if you have the resources and capacity to, please donate in any way you can, and in my linktree ( in bio ) is a google doc to websites for more charities ! <3 Also, please comment any other Mental Health organisations globally you would like to support and share, as my resources are UK/US based currently 💫 blessings, love & rage - Ayesha / YaYa 🌈 ✨ ✨ ✨ @projectlets @mindcharity @mermaidsgender @qtpocmentalhealth @stonewalluk @switchboardlgbt @lgbtswitchboard @papyrus_uk