There have been many memorable looks from Gucci since Alessandro Michele became creative director in 2015, but there’s one piece that stands out for me. It’s the black Gucci tote bag that has “REAL” spray-painted in yellow across the top. Between its contrast in colours, its sheer practicality and its cheeky comment on knock-off culture (or on Michele’s own legitimacy), the “GucciGhost leather tote” felt like a moment, and sharing in it was the Nova Scotia-born snowboarder-turned-artist Trevor “Trouble” Andrew, a.k.a. #GucciGhost.
It began in 2013, when Andrew reportedly grabbed a set of Gucci sheets, cut out holes for eyes and wore it as a Halloween costume. People kept calling him “Gucci Ghost,” which sparked an idea: He started tagging the monogram logo around the city and posting it to Instagram. While in Toronto to create Canada-150-themed window displays for Saks Fifth Avenue on Queen Street, Andrew recalls how he became obsessed with Gucci and tagged coats, bags and more: “I’m going to do this until Gucci either sues me or hires me.” Eventually, a photographer friend connected Andrew with Michele, and option number two became a reality for Fall 2016. Today, the GucciGhost collection has over 70 pieces, ranging from scarves to leather bags, and boasts celebrity fans like Madonna and Rihanna. At the recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony, even Snoop Dogg wore a GucciGhost shawl like a priestly robe while inducting the late Tupac Shakur.
“I was just using the power of the logo,” says Andrew. “Stripping it, redefining it, but trying to say something positive. ‘Life is Gucci’ really just means ‘Life is great.’”
And life is great. Andrew has his first solo art show in New York this fall and plans to start working in sculpture. In person, he sports gold teeth caps and his fingers drip with heavy rings that squish mine as we shake hands, but he is exceedingly polite. “I wasn’t into the whole idea of team sports; there were so many rules,” he says. “When it came to the Gucci collaboration with Alessandro, we just clicked because he’s a risk taker, and I don’t think you get any great rewards without taking risks.”