Designer Kimhekim criticised after models carry IV drips at Paris Fashion Week

"Being sick isn’t a fashion accessory”

Designer Kimhekim prompted backlash after sending its models out on the runway carrying IV drips. AFP 
Designer Kimhekim prompted backlash after sending its models out on the runway carrying IV drips. AFP 

Fashion month is drawing to a close, but it seems there’s still time for one last controversy. This time, it’s from the runways in Paris, after brand Kimhekim sent its models down the catwalk carrying IV drips.

During the show earlier this week, models walked while pushing intravenous (IV) drip bags hooked up to their arms, with one even wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the word “sick”.

The designer later posted a number of images from the show to its Instagram page, including a close-up of the bags branded with the Kimhekim name. However, after a wave of backlash, that post was quickly deleted.

Many have branded the stunt as “tasteless”, reminding the designer that an IV drip is usually the sign of a serious illness.

“What is this?? Being sick isn’t a fashion accessory”, wrote one commenter. Another added: “From someone who has a chronic illness and is always in and out of hospital, this is not cool.”

The brand has also been accused of “glamourising illness”. Kimhekim has not released an official statement to address the controversy, but it has replied to some comments on its Instagram profile with black heart emojis.

This isn’t the first controversy this fashion month. During Milan Fashion Week, Gucci made headlines after one of its models held a silent protest mid-way through the show.

The designer had models pose in looks that resembled straightjackets, during which model Ayesha Tan Jones held up her hands to reveal a message reading “mental health is not fashion”.

She later took to social media to state that “it is in bad taste for Gucci to use the imagery of straitjackets and outfits alluding to mental patients, while being rolled out on a conveyor belt as if a piece of factory meat.”

She continued “as an artist and model who has experienced my own struggles with mental health, as well as family members and loved ones who have been affected by depression, anxiety, bipolar and schizophrenia, it is hurtful and insensitive for a major fashion house such as Gucci to use this imagery for a fleeting fashion moment.”

Model Ayesha Tan Jones staged a protest on the Gucci spring summer 2020 runway, with hands that read, 'Mental health is not fashion'. Getty Images 
Model Ayesha Tan Jones staged a protest on the Gucci spring summer 2020 runway, with hands that read, 'Mental health is not fashion'. Getty Images

The brand confirmed the protest was not orchestrated by them, and immediately released a statement explaining of the opening that “uniforms, utilitarian clothes, normative dress, including straitjackets, were included in the Gucci SS20 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," the brand continued in its statement.

"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."

Published: September 27, 2019 03:09 PM

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