Probably one of the most important moments of Fashion Month, especially for models working in fashion, was Ayesha Tan Jones' protest at Gucci.
The first part of the show used a conveyer belt to transport models, dressed in variations of straight jackets, down the catwalk to the sound of hospital equipment and women’s screams. The brand stated that “the show presented how society today can have the ability to confine individuality and how Gucci can be the antidote”.
Through the creative process, Alessandro Michele may have conceived this idea from an innocent, purely artistic beginning. Even if this is the case, there was no thought that idea is about to put on the world stage in an industry that is so influential. With this influencer, you have to look at the current trends, topics and problems surrounding this world and how your original idea may be interpreted. We are so lucky that taboos around mental health are slowly breaking down, but it’s a fragile battle. Fashion is very responsible for effecting the mental health of so many. The industry does not yet do enough to protect its workers meaning so many suffer due to the lack of regulation. Therefore by Gucci fetishising mental health in this way feels like it’s parading this dark side of the industry.
Ayesha Tan Jones wrote for Gal-Dem Magazine “Models are often expected to be purely a body to prop up the fabric, our voices muted by the overbearing sirens of capitalism. I chose to not be confined by another person’s regime and rendered invisible. I used the container of the catwalk to be visible and use my voice silently.”
Conscious consumption does not just refer to the use of materials and labour- it is the messages and working ethics too. The sooner all industry workers are seen as individual human beings, the quicker the industry can heal. And this is across the board- from the models to the textile producers.
Big lessons for the industry are this:
Fashion is so responsible for the mental health of so many and it has so be so aware of the messages it gives out.
Fashion does not exist in a vacuum.
Fashion is so influential over many people, in and out of the industry.
Respecting people as people has to be important than publicity and sales.
Compassion and respect.