Home Highsnobiety A Political, Hong Kong-Themed Shoe Design Lands Vans in Hot Water

A Political, Hong Kong-Themed Shoe Design Lands Vans in Hot Water

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A design submitted in Vans‘ Global Custom Culture shoe contest has the brand embroiled in Hong Kong’s anti-government protests.

The competition, which invites artists globally to create unique designs using the brand’s kicks as their canvas, is drawing attention for one notable submission in support of the city’s pro-democracy movement. The design by Canada-based artist “Naomiso” features Hong Kong’s national orchid on the upper and a yellow umbrella, emblematic of the Hong Kong protests. Illustrations of masked protesters adorns the sides. Check out the shoe below.

Sorry we are so powerless and such a small market… we don’t deserve your support and neither do you deserve ours.
Goodbye and good luck.#Vans #vanscustomculturecontest #BoycottVans#HowManyMore pic.twitter.com/oEKGszvqs5

— ChowTart (@tArtcHow) October 5, 2019

Since voting commenced on October 1, Naomiso’s design quickly received more than 30,000 votes, becoming the shoe with the highest votes. The terms of the customisation competition state that the entry with the highest votes will win $25,000 and have their design produced by Vans. With the potential repercussions from mainland China for producing an anti-government shoe Vans pulled the design today and released a statement. In it, Vans wrote, “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.”

Following this move, the hashtag “#boycottVans” has gained traction, with many decrying the company’s stance on social media.

Vans removed this submission after receiving more than 30k votes by saying the design has political messages.

So Vans is against the idea of fighting for freedom&justice? What happened to your core msg of creativity&progression?
Very disappointing.#boycottVans#StandwithHK pic.twitter.com/Ku04Dd6K7g

— Dito (@DitoVon) October 5, 2019

Don’t claim that you celebrate creativity when you have zero tolerance towards a political position. Off the wall? Go lick the great wall. #boycottvans pic.twitter.com/5Z3Iw0ZJB8

— Kelly Yeung (@kellyytsss) October 5, 2019

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