Luxury fashion brands apologize over China T-shirt blunders


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. An announcement posted through Yang's studio Jiaxing Xingguang, said that: "China's territorial integrity and sovereignty are sacred and inviolable at all times", adding: "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".

A leading Chinese brand ambassador has quit Versace, claiming that one of the brand's T-shirts broke Beijing's "one China" policy.

Italian high fashion giant Versace apologised on Sunday after one of their T-shirts caused an uproar on Chinese social media for identifying Hong Kong and Macau as countries.

Versace said it had removed the T-shirts from shelves as of July 24 and had destroyed remaining inventory in a statement posted to several social media platforms.

The apology failed to impress Chinese internet users.

By the time the apologies were issued, both brands had been facing significant backlash from social media users and celebrity brand ambassadors.

The outcry comes less than a day after Versace was forced to apologize over a remarkably similar T-shirt, which appeared to list Hong Kong and Macao as countries, rather than cities. But it also described the semi-autonomous territories of Hong Kong and Macao as "Hong Kong-Hong Kong and Macao-Macao".

The T-shirt that triggered the row featured a list of "city-country" pairings, including "New York-USA" and "Beijing-China".

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It said it "respects the sovereignty of China's territorial state".

"We are fully aware of the severity of this error and deeply regret it", continued the message, which was posted on Coach's official Twitter and Instagram channels.

On Monday, fashion brands Coach and Givenchy also faced a backlash over garments they had produced.

That split was one of the most viewed topics on Weibo on Sunday, attracting more than 640m views.

In May 2018, U.S. clothing retailer Gap apologized over a T-shirt showing a map of mainland China that omitted Taiwan, which Beijing considers a rebel province awaiting reunification.

"I am deeply sorry for the unfortunate recent error that was made by our Company and that is being now discussed on various social media channels", she wrote.

The company's representative in China, actress Yang Mi, announced she would stop collaborating with Versace over the T-shirt incident, saying the brand was "suspected of damaging our country's national sovereignty".

This is the 10th week in a row of sometimes-violent protests in the territory over fears of growing political influence of Chinese authorities in Hong Kong.