Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered the Foreign Ministry and concerned agencies to look into fashion footwear from Paris incorporating the colours of the Thai flags into its design, after it caused outrage among some social media users.
“But I don’t know what and if we can do,” said General Prayut on Tuesday. “We have the National Flag Act to enforce but the colours [red, white and blue] are universal.”
In other countries, use of their national flag is not an issue but for Thailand the flag represents nation, religion and monarchy, the premier said.
Some on Thai social media have been all in a lather over the weekend after photos of the shoes, with straplets in red, white and blue, appeared on the Vogue Paris Facebook page.
The combination of the Thai flag and human feet is a contentious cultural cocktail for Thais.
Some netizens expressed anger and even outrage, as well as demanding apologies and jail sentences for the perpetrators.
A Thai Flag Museum spokesperson in Thailand points out that no one has a copyright on the flag’s colours or the order they’ve been displayed in.
Furthermore, the designers could not be prosecuted as the shoes were made and displayed outside Thailand. They could only be in trouble if the offence was committed in Thailand.
But if the shoes were made or worn in Thailand, people could potentially face a fine of Bt2,000 or a year in jail.