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.
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.