The non-binary model believes that Gucci ‘vulgarly’ uses the image of a straitjacket, and calls for the fight against the stigma of mental illness.
Gucci model Ayesha Tan Jones staged a protest at the spring-summer 2020 fashion show at Milan Fashion Week. While entering the catwalk, the model stretched out her hands, on which was written “Mental health — not fashion.” Thus, Jones protested the clothes in which the models appeared at the opening of the show — they were wearing straight white suits resembling a straitjacket.
The model wrote on her Instagram that she herself, her family and loved ones were faced with mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. According to Ayesha Tan Jones, a large fashion house like Gucci should not use mental disorders as a metaphor for the transience of fashion. Jones said in a statement that many still do not consider mental illness “real” and stigmatize people with similar problems, and a straitjacket refers to the times when people faced abuse in medical facilities.
Ayesha Tan Jones is a non-binary person and uses the pronoun ‘they’. Jones said in a statement that LGBTQ + and ethnic minorities are at times more likely to suffer from mental disorders than heterosexual, cis, and white people. Jones believes that the use of such an image by the fashion house for commercial purposes is vulgar and offends millions of people around the world suffering from mental illness.
A Gucci spokesperson confirmed to The Guardian that the action was not planned in advance. The fashion house also added that suits — straitjackets were a fashion statement for the show and would not go on sale. During a press conference after the show, Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele noted that these costumes are a discussion on the theme of uniforms: “Uniforms are something that limits and constrains a person, which makes you anonymous.” According to Michele, a straitjacket is “the highest kind of uniform.”
Among the visitors to the show was a transgender actress and model Hari Nef. She defended Gucci and noted that these “deliberately frustrating” costumes were more “a provocative reminder of submission than a glamor of insanity.”