From cultural appropriation to banalization of mental health, these are some of the most recent controversies in the fashion world.
Model Ayesha Tan Jones making a criticism during the SS20 runway of Gucci. / Taken from: instagram.com/ayeshatanjones
LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Suárez
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In the last runway of SS20 of Gucci, in which white prevailed in the garments and the stage, a model showed in the palm of her hands the message “Mental health is not fashion” , becoming the number one critic of the catwalk on which she was parading.
Fashion shows are the perfect setting for designers to show all their ingenuity and, in addition, they can take advantage to make social complaints. However, many times their ideas get out of control or go beyond the limits of the politically correct lines and end up in the eye of the storm.
This precisely happened to Gucci in its last parade in Milan. The Spring / Summer 2020 collection presented by the creative director, Alessandro Michelle, sought to dramatize a sanatorium. The stage was similar to a clinic: walls, ceiling and white chairs. The clothes, also white, had belts that made the outfits resemble straitjackets. During the show, voices were heard in the atmosphere that said "I just want to be happy", making the message about mental disorders evident.
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
Although the brand affirmed on Instagram that its creative director had made the collection and “designed these blank-styled clothes to represent how through fashion, power is exercised over life, to eliminate self-expression" the criticisms have not ceased.
The model that made the criticism was Ayesha Tan Jones, and after her symbolic protest she said in her social networks that “it is in bad taste for Gucci to wear straitjackets and outfits that simulate patients of a mental institution, while passing in an automatic band like a piece of meat". She also criticized the fashion industry to take advantage of certain issues, such as mental health, to sell, Cclling it "vulgar, unimaginative and offensive to the millions of people who are affected."
This was the last scandal, but it was not the first. Next, we bring other 3 cases in which fashion has given much to talk about, and not precisely for good.
1. Fendi - Fall-Winter 15/16
The brand of the late fashion kaiser, Karl Lagerfeld, was the center of criticism on a catwalk in which animal skins predominated. The skins of lynx, foxes, minks, marten, and lambs dominated the glamorous outfits.
As expected, especially in a world that is turning towards animal and environmental protection, the defenders did not take long to go against the brand. It unleashed a wave of protests, even more after learning that one of the coats in the collection cost almost a million dollars. This coat was, in addition, made with marshallian skin. Imagine the fury of the animalists as it was made from a unique animal from the Russian forests.
2. Dolce & Gabanna -2018
There is a thin line between making a cultural tribute and the theft or banalization of culture. Many times, designers have been caught in this line and have even been accused of dishonoring traditions.
This was precisely the case of Dolce & Gabanna, when it presented a Mexico collection inspired in April 2018. In this one, which was also launched at the Soumaya Museum in Mexico City, the traditions of such a culture were represented. However, the costumes produced negative comments in public opinion, because the fact that designers had only used the most basic stereotypes of culture was criticized.
Among the outfits, there was one inspired in the Mariachi Mexican hat, a T-shirt with the flag of the country, and one with a red tunic that resembled the Virgin of Guadalupe. According to these assumptions, the Mexican culture was generalized as a 100% devout Mariachi, which fell into stereotypes. Not to mention, in addition, that the buyers would acquire a shirt, like many others, with the flag of the country, but for a much higher price for being of a brand that, in addition, is Italian.
3. Burberry - Fall / Winter - 2019
In this collection, the distinguished designer Riccardo Tisci ended up paying for taking one of his clothes to a somewhat banalizing level of mental health. One of his hoodies had a rope around the neck. This resembled a hanging knot.
People soon responded negatively on social networks, ensuring that suicide is not fashionable. Due to criticism, Burberry had to take the garment out of the collection and it never reached the market.