Vogue Italia Wants You To Buy ‘Slave Earrings’

by Britni Danielle

So apparently ‘Slave Earrings’ are en vogue these days.

It seems like advertisers just can’t get it right. From Summer’s Eve misguided “All Hail the V” campaign, to McDonald’s hip-hop inspired commercials, it when some companies target minorities they end up drowning in stereotypes. Now…we can add Vogue to the list of brands who missed the effin’ point.

The venerable magazine is no stranger to controversy. French Vogue famously styled White models in blackface, and its American counterpart likened LeBron James to King Kong.The ‘Fashion Bible’ isn’t adverse to pushing limits, but Vogue Italia, known for it’s “Black Issue” and continuous use of Black models from around the world, has been a welcomed reprieve from the white-washed fashion industry…until now.

Earlier this month, Vogue Italia ran an article touting a new trend—‘Slave earrings.’

If you’re like me and have absolutely NO clue what ‘Slave Earrings’ are, Vogue Italia described them:


After seeing Dr. Goddess tweet Dawnavette‘s blog post about the earrings, I did a little research. Apparently ‘Slave earrings’ aren’t as rare as we might think (or hope).

According to my search, ‘Slave Earrings’ stem from the punk rock movement and typically “include a stud worn at the ear lobe, and an attached chain that goes to the top of the ear by way of a second piercing or cuff, are known as slave earrings, or multiple-piercing earrings.”

Although the earrings touted by Vogue Italia do not include chains, the mention of women of color speaks to their knowledge of how the description of these earrings may affect Black women. The fact that the writer thought the name ‘Slave earrings’ would make us think about the “traditions” of women of color rather than how slaves in America were treated is beyond offensive.

Whoever thought THIS was a good idea needs to be schooled in the seriousness of slavery, because last time I checked, there isn’t anything fashionable or trendy about it.

  • S.

    This reminds me of Proenza Scholuer’s short film “Act da Fool” with it’s sad interpretation and exploitation of Black life and artistry.

    The fashion industry loves this sh*t

    I honestly believe that blissful arrogant ignorance is the ‘new black’

  • Teddi

    Wow! Now that’s news. All these years of study and I thought slaves were trying to survive the incredibly horrendous conditions under which they were forced to live, now I find out they could wear jewelery, and attempt a fashion statement for “Ole Massa”.

    I guess slavery had its perks.

  • Trudy

    I think with these earrings, the past couple of ad campaigns (Nivea and Summer’s Eve), posting on Ebay, and the almost daily offenses towards President Obama, its not hard to see that this country or this world isn’t in any post -racial anything. Non- Blacks have gotten so emboldened that they could care less about any supposed repercussions, our feelings or sensitivities are the last things on their minds. Complaining just gets them to clean it up for a second, if we made a concerted effort to buy where we are respected and make conscious decisions with our billions, they would think twice because that’s all they respect.

  • Clnmike

    Ignorant and out right lazy as hell, the only thing they can connect to the history of the earings is slavery? They couldn’t do some research on the history and cultural origins? What the hell do they think Google is for?

  • Leah

    UPDATE: Vogue Italia’s editor-in-chief, Franca Sozzani, has changed the name of the earrings to “Ethnic earrings,” but did not change the description. She also issued the following statement in the comments section of the website:

    “We apologize for the inconvenience. 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.”

  • HLBB

    what a kick in the face! After I ran around my city searching for and even ordered those all Black issues like they were holy grails…

  • NA

    No, the person(s) who thought this was a good idea just needs to be fired. It is 2011 and anyone who is not aware of how offensive this is or who claims ignorance just does not care and does not need to be in such a position.

  • Valerie

    ‘Ethnic’ is synonymous with ‘slave’ … really?!

  • http://changecomesslow.com Nikesha

    I hate to say it but Act Da Fool didn’t really bother me. I know why it was bad. But then I also know girls that act (in a less exaggerated fashion) than those in the documentary film.

    Not all negative depictions of black life get under my skin. I feel if I can identify some aspect of truth… exploding it in the name of artistry is not that bad.

    However, these earrings do not fall in that category.

    Slavery was never, never has, and never will be chic.

    Vogue Italia #Fail

  • oknow

    i tell ya.. some white folks love showing they asss whenever possible and then apologizing for it later..

    hot ass mess.. don’t read this vogue, hell or any vogue..

  • Najat

    This statement….GOAT.

  • Najat

    That is EXACTLY why I was taken aback by their comment! OMG!

  • LurkerG

    Not just SLAVE earrings but CREOLE and PURE FREEDOM?!

    *throws hands in air* I just don’t get it.

  • Leah

    That’s typical Harmony Korine.

  • CDB

    What’s even more interesting is how the earrings pictured are almost identical to the oversized hoops worn by the females on basketball wives LOL…

  • Fox

    How about a holocaust headscarf while you’re at it? I bet they wouldn’t touch that one, but slavery……no big deal. You’s free now. I’m tired of marketing addressing blacks like we don’t understand it if it’s not colorful or music filled. Ugh.

  • http://twitter.com/Ad_Chickadee ★ Ad Chickadee ★

    Summer’s Eve and these earrings are absolutely nothing alike. These are just big earrings…like Jennifer Lopez has been wearing for years (pictured here http://ow.ly/6asNS )

  • http://www.professorlocs.typepad.com professorlocs

    I totally missed the part of Roots that women who were busy being molested, worked like beast and their families sold had time and the luxury to keep jewelry. You can take my virginity, dignity and family but I’ll be damned if you are going to get these gold hoop earrings. I mean really are they serious!


  • Fabiola

    Yes, I agree this is awful… But I’m curious to see the original Italian text. I speak the language and am interested to see how lame of an excuse the editor’s comment is.

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