Italian Vogue editor Franca Sozzani has apologized for featuring hoop earrings dubbed “slave earrings” that were inspired by the black women brought to America during the slave trade.
The Italian Vogue website featured a white female model with the following caption:
Jewelry has always flirted with circular shapes, especially for use in making earrings. The most classic models are the slave and creole styles in gold hoops.
If the name brings to the mind the decorative traditions of the women of color who were brought to the southern United Stated during the slave trade, the latest interpretation is pure freedom.
“We apologise for the inconvenience. It is a matter of really bad traslation from Italian into English,” Sozzani told the Guardian.
“The Italian word, which defines those kind of earrings, should instead be translated into ‘ethnical style earrings’. Again, we are sorry about this mistake which we have just amended in the website.”
The article was edited on Monday to remove all references to the slave trade, and with the headline “Ethnic earrings”.
On Wednesday supermodel Iman shared her thoughts on the slave earrings with Fashionista.com:
You were one of the pioneering women of color in this industry. What’s your reaction to Vogue Italia running a feature titled “Slave Earrings”?
I’m a huge fan of Franca Sozzani and Vogue Italia’s website because they have a whole section on black models. Is it controversial? Yes. The naming of it, I don’t get it. I sometimes wonder in this age of reality shows has it become part of the language-the more controversy the more [buzz] it creates. But yeah, I didn’t like it. Slave does not make it ethnic. Mind you, it’s not lost in translation-the word slave, we know what it is. They might as well have called them “n* earrings.” For somebody like Franca Sozzani, who did that whole black issue for Vogue, somebody should have said something.
Three years ago Italian Vogue released their July issue featuring only black models.