Luxury brands apologise over China T-shirt blunders

Versace was criticised on Sunday for a T-shirt that implied Hong Kong and Macau -- both semi-autonomous cities in China -- were independent.

Versace was criticised on Sunday for a T-shirt that implied Hong Kong and Macau -- both semi-autonomous cities in China -- were independent.

AFP/Miguel Medina

BEIJING - Luxury fashion brands Versace, Coach, and Givenchy have apologised for making perceived affronts to China's national sovereignty with T-shirts listing Hong Kong and Taiwan as separate countries.

Versace was criticised on Sunday for a T-shirt that implied Hong Kong and Macau -- both semi-autonomous cities in China -- were independent.

Hong Kong has become a particularly sensitive subject in mainland China as the Asian financial hub has been plunged into months of pro-democracy protests.

On Monday, images of a 2018 Coach T-shirt that said Taiwan -- a self-ruled democratic island Beijing regards as its territory -- and Hong Kong were not part of China again provoked anger online.

Givenchy too was outed for a similar offence: a black T-shirt that listed Taiwan and Hong Kong separately from cities in mainland China.

All three companies have tried to minimise the damage over the mistakes that cost them their high-profile Chinese brand ambassadors.

Coach said in a statement that the clothes with the "serious inaccuracy" had been pulled, adding it was "fully aware of the severity of this error and deeply regret it".

The brand corrected its website as well, after Chinese users shared screenshots online showing Hong Kong in a "find by country" drop-down list.

Versace has also apologised. "We love China and resolutely respect China's territorial national sovereignty," the Italian brand wrote on its Twitter-like Weibo account on Sunday.

The controversial T-shirts were removed from its official sales channels and "destroyed" on 24 July, the company explained.

Givenchy's Weibo apology also reiterated its respect for China's sovereignty, and said the brand "resolutely upholds the One China Principle."

Source
AFP