Executives at Coach and Givenchy have issued apologies to the people of China after two T-shirt designs triggered fierce criticism in the nation.
Over the weekend, Donatella Versace took to social media to insist she was “deeply sorry” after it came to her attention that the Versace brand had been selling a range of T-shirts and hoodies in which the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macau were incorrectly described as independent countries.
Since then, online users have called out bosses at Coach and Givenchy for offering T-shirts labelled with the words Taipei, Taiwan – which is also officially in the Republic of China.
“Coach respects and supports China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. In May 2018, we found a serious inaccuracy in the design of a few T-shirts,” a representative for Coach wrote on Instagram. “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.”
They went on to explain that the items have been reviewed and the relevant website content has been updated.
A Givenchy spokesperson uploaded an apology with a similar sentiment too.
“The house of Givenchy firmly respects China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Immediate actions have been taken to recall the inaccurate T-shirt design from all markets, and measures of product and process review have been and will continue to be taken to avoid similar situations in the future,” they wrote. “The House of Givenchy wishes to sincerely apologise for this mistake that does not reflect the deep respect it has for its Chinese audiences throughout the world, as well as renew its commitment to pursue its longstanding relationship with the market in the most thoughtful way.”
The criticism of the garments comes at a particularly sensitive time due to the protests taking place in Hong Kong at present, with tens of thousands of campaigners demanding leaders listen to their concerns about China’s political influence.
As a result of the backlash, Coach ambassador and top model Liu Wen has distanced herself from the New York-based label and posted a statement on her Weibo social media page.
“I apologise to everyone for the damage that I have caused as a result of my less-careful choice of brand!” she commented. “I love my motherland, and I steadfastly safeguard China’s sovereignty.”
© Cover Media