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Luxury brands Versace, Coach face severe backlash in China for their T-shirts

File image of Donatella Versace and a Coach bag. (Images via Instagram/Versace and @Coach) Photograph:( Instagram )

WION Web Team New Delhi Aug 12, 2019, 01.44 PM (IST)

Luxury fashion brand Versace and Coach have found themselves in the middle of political controversy in China. A day after Versace issued a public apology over its T-shirts that defied 'One China Policy', American fashion label Coach is now facing backlash from its Chinese customers for a similar issue. 

Pictures have been circulated online of a T-shirt allegedly sold by Coach that suggests Hong Kong and Taiwan are countries, rather than cities. The photo has irked consumers in China with Coach's brand ambassador, Chinese supermodel Liu Wen, even threatening to terminate her relationship with the brand for “seriously hurting the Chinese people’s feelings”.

On Sunday, Versace apologised in an official Weibo post for a “wrong design”. 

Its T-shirts had listed Hong Kong and Macau as countries, while both are special administrative regions of China and not separate countries.

After the brand received severe criticism, the T-shirts were taken off shelves on July 24 and were destroyed, Versace stated. 
The brands have faced ire at a time when clashes between China and Hong Kong have intensified with anti-Beijing protests entering its 10th week in Hong Kong. This weekend, demonstrations spilled over from city streets to a sit-in at the airport, the world’s third-busiest in terms of international passengers.

Versace’s Chinese brand ambassador Yang Mi, said Sunday that she has ended her relationship with the Italian fashion house because it has harmed China’s sovereign and territorial integrity.

Versace designer Donatella Versace apologized in a post on Instagram on Sunday for an “unfortunate error.“

Coach, on Monday, shared a long post stating that the brand stands by China's sovereign and territorial integrity. 

"In May 2018, we found a serious inaccuracy in the design of a few T-shirts. We immediately pulled those products from all channels globally. We also reviewed our entire assortment to ensure compliance, and have strengthened our internal product development process to avoid the occurrence of a similar issue in the future. We are fully aware of the severity of this error and deeply regret it. 

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. We will continue to strive to provide exceptional products and service to Chinese customers,” the statement read. 

Story highlights

Pictures have been circulated online of a T-shirt allegedly sold by Coach that suggests Hong Kong and Taiwan are countries, rather than cities. The photo has irked consumers in China.