Italian Vogue ‘Slave Earrings’ Controversy

italian vogue slave earrings


Oversized hoops were called "Slave Earrings" on Italian Vogue's Web site

Italian Vogue is no stranger to pushing people’s buttons—whether it’s a cover that references BP’s oil spill or editor in chief Franca Sozzani claiming that Facebook is the cause of anorexia. The magazine’s latest fashion fracas comes courtesy of a pair of earrings.

In a feature on the magazine’s Web site, gold hoops are referred to as “slave earrings,” Jezebel reports.

“If the name brings to mind the decorative traditions of the women of color who were brought to the southern United States during the slave trade, the latest interpretation is pure freedom,” reads Italian Vogue’s less-than-delicate description of the oversized hoops.

Needless to say, commenters have made their outrage loud and clear. "This is an insult to women all over the world, no matter their race," wrote one reader. "To oversimplify a horrible moment in US/World history for the sake of consumerism spits in the face of every intelligent woman."

Franca Sozzani herself responds to the controversy in the comments, citing a bad translation; "schiave" is reportedly the Italian word for a certain style of earring and was translated to "slave."

"We apologize for the inconvenience," she wrote. "It is a matter of really bad traslation [sic] from Italian into English. The Italian word, which defines those kind of earrings, should instead be translated into 'ethnical style earrings'. Again, we are sorry about this mistake."

The name of the trend has since been updated to “ethnic earrings.”