UPDATE (Sep 23, 2019): In response to runway model Ayesha Tan-Jones‘ protest on the runway during Gucci’s Spring/Summer 2020 show, Gucci Creative Director Alessandro Michele has released the following statement to The New York Times:
“I wanted to show how society today can have the ability to confine individuality and that Gucci can be the antidote. For me, the show was the journey from conformity to freedom and creativity. Uniforms, utilitarian clothes, such straitjackets, were included in the fashion show as the most extreme version of restriction imposed by society and those who control it. These clothes were a statement for the fashion show and part of a performance.”
The brand also took to Instagram to further explain its point of view in regards to the collection, stating that, “uniforms, utilitarian clothes, normative dress, including straitjackets, were included in the GucciSS20 fashion show as the most extreme version of a uniform dictated by society and those who control it. These clothes were a statement for the fashion show and will not be sold.”
Tan-Jones posted on Instagram too, acknowledging that many of the other Gucci models supported their cause and that many of the models decided to donate a portion of their fees to mental health charities.
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Uniforms, utilitarian clothes, normative dress, including straitjackets, were included in the #GucciSS20 fashion show as the most extreme version of a uniform dictated by society and those who control it. These clothes were a statement for the fashion show and will not be sold. @alessandro_michele designed these blank-styled clothes to represent how through fashion, power is exercised over life, to eliminate self-expression. This power prescribes social norms, classifying and curbing identity. The Creative Director’s antidote is seen in the Gucci Spring Summer 2020 lineup of 89 looks, he has designed a collection that conveys fashion as a way to allow people to walk through fields of possibilities, cultivate beauty, make diversity sacrosanct and celebrate the self in expression and identity. #AlessandroMichele
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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 of us have chosen to donate a portion of our fee 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 ? ✨ ✨ ✨ @mindcharity @mermaidsgender @qtpocmentalhealth @stonewalluk @switchboardlgbt @lgbtswitchboard @papyrus_uk
ORIGINAL STORY (Sep 23, 2019): Gucci has returned to Milan Fashion Week for its Spring/Summer 2020 show, unveiling a collection of more stripped-back pieces inspired by resistance and fashion’s place in the world today. A key reference point for the collection was Michel Foucault’s theory of “biopolitics” — described as “the power over life, over bodies. A power that legitimizes only some existences, confining the others inside a regime of containment and/or invisibility” — and the role of resistance against this power.
Alessandro Michele‘s vision of resistance saw fashion as a vehicle of freedom, with the shownotes adding that fashion can “let people walk through fields of possibilities, giving hints and evoking openness, cultivating promises of beauty, offering testimonies and prophecies, sacralising every form of diversity, feeding indispensable self-determination skills.”
To show the conflict between control and freedom, the Gucci show began with a series of models wearing all-white pieces that looked like they were from hospitals, including a straightjacket as some people from the public on social media pointed out as well. This led to a protest from one model, with Ayesha Tan-Jones presenting their hands bearing the words “Mental Health is Not Fashion.”
Contrasting the all-white aesthetic, the SS20 collection was more brightly colored, although also more reserved than some of Michele’s previous collections. The designer took inspiration from Tom Ford’s time at Gucci in the ’90s, and the theme of “ORGASMIQUE” which was embroidered on patches throughout the collection. Stand-out themes included tailoring, as well as nods to workwear and denim-pieces.
For more from Gucci, take a look at the house’s all-new multicolored floral tote bag.
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