Coach, Givenchy in hot water over China T-shirt row

August 12, 2019 16:02
Responding to criticism from China, Coach has apologized for the design of a T-shirt which identified Taiwan as a country. Photo: Bloomberg

Chinese brand ambassadors of fashion labels Coach and Givenchy have severed ties with the firms over products which they said violated China’s sovereignty by identifying Hong Kong and Taiwan as countries, Reuters reports.

The brands are the latest to get into hot water over political issues in China, which has been more assertive in its territorial claims and how it expects foreign companies doing businesses in China to describe them, the report noted.

On Sunday, Italian luxury label Versace and its artistic director, Donatella Versace, apologized after one of its T-shirts, depicting the territories of Hong Kong and Macau as countries, was criticized on Chinese social media.

Coach’s China ambassador, supermodel Liu Wen, said on Weibo on Monday that she had severed her endorsement deal with the New York-based label over a similar T-shirt, which also listed Taiwan as a country even though Beijing says the self-ruled island is a renegade province.

"I apologize to everyone for the damage that I have caused as a result of my less-careful choice of brand!” she said in a Weibo post that was ‘liked’ hundreds of thousands of times.

"I love my motherland, and I steadfastly safeguard China’s sovereignty."

Coach said it had found the “serious inaccuracy” in May 2018 and had immediately pulled the T-shirts from all its global channels. It added that it “deeply” regretted the design.

“We also reviewed our assortment to ensure compliance, and have strengthened our internal product development process to avoid the occurance of a similar issue in the future,” it said.

“Coach respects and supports China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The topic “Coach” was the hottest item on China’s Twitter-like Weibo on Monday morning.

Separately, popular Chinese boy band idol Jackson Yee said on Weibo he had severed ties with Givenchy after pictures of one of the brand’s T-shirts, which also listed Hong Kong and Taiwan in a similar way, received criticism.

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