Burberry has become the latest brand to face calls for a boycott and endure a fervent backlash in China as the country-wide retaliation to sanctions escalates.
Yesterday Charged reported that major brands including Nike, Adidas, H&M, Gap, Fila, New Balance, Zara, and Under Armour had all been added to a “black list” of brands after government affiliated groups alleged they were “spreading rumours to boycott Xianjiang cotton”.
Burberry has now become the first luxury brand to be caught up in the furore, placing disproportionate pressure on the fashion retailer due to its increasing reliance on Chinese sales.
China represents over a third of the global luxury market, and has been Burberry’s fastest growing market for some time.
However, Burberry has now seen its Chinese brand ambassador award-winning Chinese actress Zhou Dongyu abruptly terminate her contract.
READ MORE: Nike, H&M and Adidas face violent backlash and boycott in China after raising concerns around forced labour
It comes after the UK, EU, US and Canada voted to impose sanctions on China this week amid ongoing reports of forced labour, mass sterilisation of women and a raft of other human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region.
In response to the sanctions, any brands who have stopped using cotton from the region or spoken out against alleged forced labour have been accused of spreading “lies and disinformation” about China.
Burberry is a member of the Better Cotton Initiative, which announced in October it would stop using cotton from Xinjiang providence.
Earlier this week, Burberry launched a tie-up with China’s most popular video game “Honor of Kings”, releasing two exclusive skins for the game designed by its chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci himself.
Both of these designed have now also been stripped from the game as users across social media denounce the once popular brand.