Versace said it “respects the sovereignty of China’s territorial state” as part of its apology.
A picture of one of Versace’s T-shirts featuring city-country pairs appeared on social media creating a storm in China. The T-shirts, along with Milan-Italy or London-UK pairs, included Hong Kong-Hong Kong and Macau-Macau pairs.
"We apologize for the dispute. We love China and respect the sovereignty of China's territorial state," a translation of Versace's statement said.
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
The brand’s artistic director Donatella Versace wrote on Instagram, "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 Italian label said it had stopped selling the T-shirts and destroyed them as of July 24.
Versace's China brand ambassador Yang Mi, a renowned actress cut ties with the brand after the incident. "China's territorial integrity and sovereignty are sacred and inviolable at all times," a statement from her studio said.
Versace is not the only brand to receive criticism. Fashion brands Coach and Givenchy also faced the same Monday.
Coach's China ambassador Liu Wen said she ended her contract with the company for selling a T-shirt which mentioned Taiwan a separate country. Coach later apologized. Givenchy also apologized for listing Hong Kong and Taiwan as separate countries.
The issue has gained more attraction in light of the ongoing anti-China protests in Hong Kong.