Chapman To expresses sadness over Vans' shoe design controversy

10 Oct – Hong Kong actor Chapman To was among those who criticised American apparel VANS for removing one of the designs submitted on its Global Custom Culture show contest for its depiction of the Hong Kong protest.

As reported on Mingpao, the issue sparked recently, after a Canada-based artist "Naomiso" showed off his design for the said competition, which features a yellow umbrella on the upper part symbolising the Hong Kong protests and masked protesters on the sides.

Although the design received one of the highest voted with more than 30,000 since its commencement on 1 October, Vans suddenly pulled the design from competition.

The company confirmed the removal, saying that a small number of artistic submissions have been removed, in order to "uphold the purpose of Custom Culture".

"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," it stated.

The decision had since sparked anger among netizens, with some slamming the brand for "bowing down" to China, and others claiming that the brand is trying to pretend that China's vast market is not the reason for its decision to take down the said design. It had since sparked a boycott online with the hashtag "boycottVans" trending on Twitter.

Among those who expressed criticism against the company include Hong Kong Independence supporter Chapman To, who expressed his sadness over the issue.

"I felt helpless and disappointed to see that the brand has taken this design off the shelves today. I know more clearly than anyone that the Hong Kong market cannot compare with China, and I have always respected the choices made by any commercial organisation for this reason. But it saddens me that Vans, the brand that I loved for many years suddenly lost its passion of the past, and now I don't think I can wear it anymore," he wrote.

(Photo Source: Chapman To Facebook)