Exclusive: Taylor Swift in China - will she shake off '1989' from her clothing brand?

Thu Aug 6, 2015 6:21pm EDT
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(Reuters) - People associated with American pop superstar Taylor Swift's clothing brand have discussed removing some items bearing the controversial "1989" logo from the line of products that will be for sale in China, a person involved in the production process said.

But a day before the seven-time Grammy winner's merchandise launch in China, it was unclear if those who proposed the self-censorship had prevailed.   

Some items in her U.S. clothing line feature the slogan "T.S. 1989", after her initials and birth year. "1989" is the name of both Swift's latest album and her world tour.

"T.S." could be interpreted as a reference to Beijing's Tiananmen Square, the center for pro-democracy protests that were violently suppressed on June 4, 1989, with hundreds killed.

China's Communist Party has banned references to the crackdown in state media, the Internet and books, leaving most young Chinese ignorant of those events 26 years ago.

On Wednesday, two of Swift's representatives said that information supplied to Reuters about the withdrawal of the logo from merchandise in China was ”incorrect.”

On July 20, Chinese e-commerce company JD.com Inc (JD.O: Quote) announced it would be the official online source of Taylor Swift items in China. Nashville, Tennessee-based brand development firm Heritage66Company has also been Swift’s partner in the China effort.

The 1989 designs were displayed in an accompanying promotional video featuring Swift that can still be found on Heritage66’s microblog on the Chinese social media site, Weibo.

However, a nearly identical video, accessible through a link on Heritage66’s main website, does not include the 1989 designs.   Continued...

Taylor Swift accepts the award for top female artist at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada May 17, 2015.  REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni