Days after Ayesha Tan-Jones' protest of Gucci's straight jackets, the brand Kimhēkim has come under fire for sending models down the runway hooked up to IV drips at Paris Fashion Week, reports Teen Vogue.
Models also wore large black sunglasses, T-shirts that read "sick" on them, and some carried selfie sticks. South Korean designer Kiminte Kimhekim — a Balenciaga alum known for combining French couture with traditional Korean techniques — explained the theme like this:
"The collection is about attention-seekers spending their summer vacation in a hospital."
People are calling out the use of the IV bags, as well as Kimhekim's framing of the entire show.
"What is this?? Being sick isn't a fashion accessory" one user wrote.
Another critic commented, "From someone who has a chronic illness and is always in and out of hospital, this is not cool."
"This isn't a good look. As a disabled person who has had to take barely affordable IV medication. This is a very pathetic and shameful thing to do, using IV bags as props. You're not edgy" someone else offered.
Using medical equipment to try to give your runway show edge promotes a kind of "sick girl chic" — the descendent of officially awful trend "heroin chic" — that romanticizes illness. And in regards to the show's theme, it's remarkably callous to suggest that people who experience illness, mental or otherwise, are seeking attention.
There's definitely a way to make a provocative fashion week statement about illness, and the relationship between beauty, health and style, but this isn't it.
One Instagram commenter even offered an idea for their next collection: "Wouldn't it be so much nicer if you donated fluids to disabled people who can't afford the treatments they need instead? And never use these as props again. Just hire disabled people instead!!!!!"