Gucci is facing criticism following its inclusion of straightjackets in its Spring/Summer 2020 show at Milan Fashion Week this weekend. During the presentation, model Ayesha Tan Jones held up their hands to reveal the words “Mental Health Is Not Fashion” inked across both palms.
Jones followed the runway protest with an accompanying statement posted to Instagram. “The stigma around mental health must end,” it began, before moving on to address the statistics of mental health issues within LGBTQIA+ and minority communities.
“As an artist and model who has experienced my own struggles with mental health,” Jones continued, “it is hurtful and insensitive for a major fashion house such as Gucci to use this imagery as a concept for a fleeting fashion moment.” The post also dissects the use of straight jackets in mental health institutions and goes on to dub the luxury brand’s choice as “vulgar, unimaginative, and offensive.”
Scroll through the Instagram post below to read the statement in full.
In a statement obtained by Business of Fashion, Gucci said that creative director Alessandro Michele had designed “blank-styled” clothes intended to make a point about fashion and self-expression. Those included in the show were “the most extreme version of a uniform dictated by society and those who control it” and will not be sold in stores.
Earlier this summer Gucci hired its first-ever global head of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The hire was made after it pulled a controversial $890 polo neck sweater from its stores and issued an apology as its design carried a resemblance to blackface.