Vans Steps Into Hong Kong Quagmire

by The Editors on October 8, 2019

The downside of holding an open design competition is that someday, someone is going to design something that someone else has a problem with. Well, Vans experienced that this week, according to a story on CNN. The someone is “a Canada-based user named Naomiso” and the someone else with a problem just might be the People’s Republic of China. Vans reportedly pulled the design (along with others) from their Custom Culture design competition on Saturday, October 5, 2019 saying in a facebook post: 

“As a brand that is open to everyone, we have never taken a political position and therefore review designs to ensure they are in line with our company’s long-held values of respect and tolerance, as well as with our clearly communicated guidelines for this competition,” the statement said, without referring specifically to the protest-themed design.

The shoe, shown above, features “a red bauhinia, the flower on Hong Kong’s flag, and one of the yellow umbrellas synonymous with the city’s 2014 pro-democracy protests.” The designer was told the submission was pulled for the following reason:

“Not allowed: Trademarked or copyrighted material, business or brand logos, images of celebrities, professional team logos or mascots, nudity, images of weapons/violence, images referencing drugs, alcohol or smoking, offensive contest, obscenity or hate.”

Obviously, there are a few people upset by the shoe’s removal, and now a #boycottvans movement has apparently started. According to CNN, one Hong Kong shoe retailer has closed three of their stores because of “the controversy created by the contest.” Rough going for a contest about creativity and expression. For the rest of the story, please click the link.

[Link: CNN]

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