Fashion brands got a costly geography lesson from China

Luxury fashion giants apologize to China for suggesting Hong Kong is its own country.

August 14, 2019

American fashion brand Coach, French label Givenchy and Italian luxury brand Versace all apologized to China after suggesting that places like Hong Kong and Macau are separate from China.

The fallout began Sunday, when images surfaced of a Versace T-shirt that paired cities next to their corresponding countries and listed the Chinese metropolis as “Hong Kong — HONG KONG” and the gambling getaway of Macau as “Macau — MACAO.” 

Givenchy and Coach were both busted for the same mistake.

The companies were forced to apologize after notable Chinese social media stars terminated their advertising contracts with the companies.

It’s not the first industry to diss China’s sovereignty

In 2018, China vowed to increase its policing over how overseas companies refer to territories such as Hong Kong and Macau, both of which are Chinese territories but run with a high degree of autonomy.

Since then, airlines, carmakers, hotel operators, and other fashion brands have all come under fire for violating the country’s “One China” policy.

China’s market ain’t nuthin to f*ck with

Chinese people account for 30% of all global luxury spending, and as the yuan takes a nosedive, having good standing with the country is vital for luxury goods makers to survive.

Coach posted a lengthy social media post acknowledging they are “fully aware of the severity of this error.” While Givenchy formally apologized on its Weibo account.

Versace said, “We love China deeply, and resolutely respect China’s territory and national sovereignty.”

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