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Versace, Coach, Givenchy apologize for 'offensive' China-related apparel

By
Elizabeth Shim
Donatella Versace apologized to the Chinese people following a labeling controversy. File Photo by Steve Ferdman/UPI
Donatella Versace apologized to the Chinese people following a labeling controversy. File Photo by Steve Ferdman/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Versace, Coach and Givenchy are some of the luxury brands feeling the heat as China increasingly regulates how its special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau, are referred to in apparel popular with high-end Chinese buyers.

Coach and Givenchy issued apologies after T-shirts that may not have identified Hong Kong as part of China, or suggested that Taiwan is an independent country, began to appear on Chinese social media platforms, CNN reported Monday.

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Coach, one of the most popular luxury brands in the world's second-largest economy, said in a statement the merchandise at issue will be pulled from shelves.

Coach also said it "it respects and supports China's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

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Chinese supermodel Liu Wen, a Coach brand ambassador, also responded to the labeling controversy by saying she was cutting ties with the U.S. maker of bags and accessories.

''At any time, China's sovereignty and [territorial] integrity are inviolable!" Liu said on Sina Weibo. "My carelessness in choosing which brand to work with has brought harm to everyone; I apologize to everyone here! I love my motherland and resolutely safeguard China's sovereignty."

CNBC reported Versace's artistic director Donatella Versace apologized Sunday for Versace T-shirts that showed cities paired with countries. The labels read, ''Macau, Macau," and "Hong Kong, Hong Kong" with no references to China.

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"Versace reiterates that we love China deeply, and resolutely respect China's territory and national sovereignty," the company said in a statement.

As the controversy grew and Chinese actress Yang Mi ended her contract with Versace, Donatella Versace said, "Never have I wanted to disrespect China's national sovereignty and this is why I wanted to personally apologize for such inaccuracy and for any distress that it might have caused."

China has been heavily regulating how Hong Kong and Macau are referenced overseas since 2018.

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China accounts for one-third of all global spending on luxury goods, according to CNBC.

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