Culture&Arts

Versace apologises for T-shirt mislabelling Hong Kong, Macau as countries

Versace apologises for T-shirt mislabelling Hong Kong, Macau as countries

Both Hong Kong and Macau were once European colonies which were leased from China.

Chinese brand ambassadors of fashion labels from Coach to Givenchy have severed ties with the companies over products which they said violated China's sovereignty by identifying Hong Kong and Taiwan as countries.

Similarly Coach's ambassador, Chinese model Liu Wen, announced on Monday she was terminating her work with the fashion brand over its t-shirt blunder.

The simple t-shirt design, featuring a list of cities, failed to designate Hong Kong and Macau as Chinese territory, instead printing "Hong Kong-HONG KONG" and "Macau-MACAU" in contrast to cities like Beijing and Shanghai, which were included in the list with "CHINA" displayed clearly next to them.

Versace said on its Weibo account that it had made a mistake and had stopped selling and destroyed the T-shirts on 24 July.

After pictures circulated online of a T-shirt allegedly sold by Coach that suggests Hong Kong and Taiwan are countries, rather than cities, calls grew over social media for a boycott of the Tapestry Inc. -owned label.

The T-shirt debacle comes amid a time of heightened sensitivities regarding China's relationship with Hong Kong.

The T-shirt, images of which were widely posted on Chinese social media, triggering a storm of rage, sported a list of "city-country" and "capital-country" pairs, like for instance "New York-USA" and "Beijing-China".

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"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. We have also taken immediate action to review and correct relevant website content. Coach is dedicated to long-term development in China, and we respect the feelings of the Chinese people.

"China's territorial integrity and sovereignty are sacred and inviolable at all times", the statement said.

"I love my motherland, and resolutely defend China's national sovereignty!" she wrote.

On Monday, there were over 860 million views for the hashtag #YangMiStopsWorkingWithVersace on China's social media site Weibo.

The Italian fashion house apologized and confirmed that the item had been recalled.

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".

"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".

Chinese authorities and state media have lashed out particularly in recent weeks at firms that appear to back the Hong Kong demonstrations, with flagship airline Cathay Pacific facing demands that staff who supported the protests be prevented from working on flights passing through Chinese airspace.