After a recent string of gaffes by international fashion brands, a picture of a Versace T-shirt has gone viral on Weibo for listing the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao as countries independent from China.
The T-shirt features city-country pairings such as Milan – Italy and Beijing – China, while Hong Kong – Hong Kong and Macau – Macao can also be seen, as reported by Bloomberg.
Image via Sina Fashion @新浪时尚/Weibo
The uproar has cost Versace its first Chinese brand ambassador, Yang Mi, an actress who rose to popularity with The Return of the Condor Heroes and Chinese Paladin 3, and was ranked third on Forbes China’s Celebrity 100 list in 2017.
On August 11, Jiaxing Xingguang, Yang’s studio, released a statement on Weibo that they have cut all ties with Versace. As a citizen of the People’s Republic of China, Yang wrote that she was “extremely indignant” about the affair, adding, “The motherland’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are sacred, inviolable and brook no division.”
Less than an hour after the statement was posted on Weibo, the fashion house posted an apology, citing negligence and a design mistake, while reiterating, “We love China, and firmly respect China's sovereignty.” Although it did not identify the exact T-shirt from the viral picture, Versace did mention that the item has been removed from all official channels since July 24, and “destroyed.” Sister of Versace’s founder and its current artistic director, Donatella Versace, also issued a similar apology on her official Instagram account, which was posted on the brand’s official Weibo account as well.
Image via Versace/Weibo
While many Chinese netizens have praised Yang’s statement as patriotic, Versace’s apology did not seem to impress. The company is not the first to come under pressure after errors in regards to China’s special administrative regions.
Just a day later, Coach and Givenchy, also apologized over similar T-shirt designs undermining the ‘One China’ policy, with supermodel Liu Wen and singer Jackson Yee from boy band TFBoys announcing their decisions to part ways with the respective brands, as reported by Reuters.
[Top image via Versace/Weibo]