Italian fashion house, Versace, has angered China and lost its Chinese Brand Ambassador over new t-shirt design that offends Chinese Sovereignty.
The new design features a list of cities and their respective countries. However, the design messed up with Brussels and São Paulo misspelled and Hong Kong and Macau listed as independent countries, it’s a big L for such a renowned fashion brand.
Images of the t-shirt circulated on the popular Chinese platform, Weibo, where users began attacking the brand and calling for a boycott.
With the ongoing Hong Kong protests, China’s sovereignty is at its most sensitive. The design angered many Chinese consumers and sparked a lot of debate as Hong Kong and Macau are classified as “Special Administrative Regions” and have semi-autonomous governments from the mainland.
Furthermore, the issue prompted actress and Versace’s first Chinese brand ambassador, Yang Mi, to pull out of her contract with the brand.
Yang posted her official statement on her company’s official Weibo account. Translated by China Daily, the statement read:
“As a company of the People’s Republic of China and Yang Mi as a citizen of the People’s Republic of China, we are deeply offended. The national sovereignty and territorial intergrity is sacred and cannot be violated under any circumstances. It is the duty of all Chinese citizens to uphold the “One China” principle and adamantly safeguard national unification.”
It easily became one of the trending topics on Weibo and the hashtag #YangMiStopsWorkingWithVersace garnered over 860 million views.
Following suit, Chief Creative Officer, Donatella Versace, issued an apology on her personal Instagram account and the company’s official accounts.
View this post on Instagram
“I am deeply sorry for the unfortunate recent error that was made by our Company and that is being currently discussed on various social media channels. Never have I wanted to disrespect China’s National Sovereignty and this is why I wanted to personally apologize for such inaccuracy and for any distress that it might have caused.” @donatella_versace
Not to mention, the company announced that a product recall has been put in place in July, in an attempt to recover and give Chinese fans peace of mind.
“The brand accepts accountability and is exploring actions to improve how we operate day-to-day to become more conscious and aware,” they said.
Versace isn’t the first foreign brand to feel the need to apologise to China. Coach and Givenchy issued apologies after implying Hong Kong’s independence in their new designs.
According to Global Times, Chinese people’s consumption of luxury goods occupies 33 percent of the global luxury goods market.
Now, If we put two and two together, we can see why brands are doing the most to keep Chinese consumers at bay. Let’s hope other brands don’t make the same mistake.
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