Chinese model distances herself from Coach over T-shirt gaffe

Monday, August 12, 2019

Another day, another luxury brand runs afoul of political sensitivities in China. Less than 24 hours after Versace apologized for T-shirts that defied China’s “One China policy,” American fashion label Coach is now facing backlash from Chinese consumers for a strikingly similar faux pas, Bloomberg reports.

After pictures circulated online of a T-shirt allegedly sold by Coach that suggests Hong Kong and Taiwan are countries, rather than cities, calls grew over social media for a boycott of the Tapestry Inc.-owned label. Coach’s brand ambassador, Chinese supermodel Liu Wen, said today on Weibo that she would terminate her relationship with the brand for “seriously hurting the Chinese people’s feelings.''

Coach did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Versace apologized yesterday in an official Weibo post for a “wrong design.'' Its T-shirts listed Hong Kong and Macau as countries, although both are special administrative regions of China.

The T-shirts were taken off shelves on July 24 and have been destroyed, Versace said. Versace Loses Chinese Brand Ambassador Amid T-Shirt Controversy Coach and Versace’s T-shirts are the latest in a string of missteps by foreign companies in China.

Last year, an advertisement from Dolce & Gabbana that showed a Chinese model struggling to eat spaghetti and pizza with chopsticks sparked outrage and a boycott of its products.

Earlier this year, Leica Camera AG quickly distanced itself from a promotional video that prompted a backlash against the company in China for partially focusing on the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests.