Italian luxury label Versace and its artistic director, Donatella Versace, apologised on Sunday after one of the company’s T-shirts was widely criticised on social media in China for identifying the Chinese-controlled territories of Hong Kong and Macau as countries.
Versace, which was bought by Michael Kors’ Capri Holdings Ltd in September, said on its Twitter-like Weibo account that it had made a mistake and as of July 24 had stopped selling and destroyed the T-shirts.
#YangMi‘s studio states the actress has terminated her contract with Versace in official statement. Yang was announced as Versace ambassador in June.
The luxury label is currently under fire on Chinese social media for a t-shirt design that does not adhere to one-China policy. pic.twitter.com/k91RbULz36
— Trending Weibo (@TrendingWeibo) August 10, 2019
Milan-based Versace is the latest company to become entangled in political issues involving China, which since 2018 has increased its policing of how foreign firms describe Hong Kong and Macau, former European colonies that are now part of China but run with a high degree of autonomy.
The Company apologizes for the design of its product and a recall of the t-shirt has been implemented in July. The brand accepts accountability and is exploring actions to improve how we operate day-to-day to become more conscientious and aware. pic.twitter.com/5K8u3c4Dbm
— VERSACE (@Versace) August 11, 2019
“Versace reiterates that we love China deeply, and resolutely respect China’s territory and national sovereignty,”the company said in a statement.
The T-shirt, images of which were widely posted on Chinese social media, featured a list of “city-country” pairs, including”New York-USA” and “Beijing-China”.
But it also described Hong Kong and Macau as “Hong Kong-Hong Kong and Macau-Macau.”
Donatella Versace, sister of the fashion house’s late founder Gianni, issued a similar statement on her official Instagram account. “Never have I wanted to disrespect China’s National Sovereignty and this is why I wanted to personally apologize forsuch inaccuracy and for any distress that it might have caused,”she said.
The studio of Versace’s China brand ambassador Yang Mi, oneof the country’s most well-known actresses, also said on its Weibo account that she was ending her contract with Versace overt he issue.
“China’s territorial integrity and sovereignty are sacred and inviolable at all times,” Jiaxing Media said in the statement.
The ending of Yang’s relationship with Versace was one of the most viewed topics on Weibo on Sunday, attracting over 640million views