Italian fashion house Versace found itself in hot water last night when Chinese netizens brought attention to a particular T-shirt design from the brand that was listed by city and country. While Beijing and Shanghai were both under China, Hong Kong and Macau were under Hong Kong and Macao respectively.
The move outraged the Chinese public as Hong Kong and Macau were both special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China. The mistake is especially glaring at a time of heightened tensions from the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.
Yang Mi who became the first Chinese brand ambassador for Versace in June has ended her working relationship with the brand. At 2:00am on August 11, Yang Mi Studio released a statement from Jiaxing Xingguang to indicate that the actress and the agency have sent a notification to Versace to terminate their partnership. Yang Mi’s photos which initially appeared on Versace’s Weibo banner have already been replaced.
At 2:12am on August 11, Versace issued a formal apology via Weibo. They admitted that their erroneous design has caused some cities to be listed without the right country. The T-shirt in question has been taken off the shelves since July 24. They acknowledge their mistake and express their deepest apologies. They end with, “Versace would like to reiterate, we love China and strongly respect its sovereignty.”
Around 6pm on August 11, the topic trended again on social media after an official apology written in English and Chinese from Donatella Versace herself was issued not only on Weibo but also on the company’s social media accounts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
She wrote, “I am deeply sorry for the unfortunate recent error that was made by our Company and that is being currently discussed on various social media channels. 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.”
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.
For anyone who follow C-news, this is not the first time it’s happened. Last year, Dolce & Gabbana which had Dilraba Dilmurat and Karry Wang as brand ambassadors lost both stars and the respect of the Chinese public due to a string of racist remarks and a series of controversial ads.