'Vogue' Tries Racism on for Size

vogue italiaAs far as I can tell, the latest trend in earrings seems to be the more GINORMOUS, the better. And as someone who is barely 4'11" and who can only envy someone like Gisele Bundchen's neck to ear ratio, I thought this in itself was a total disaster. Man, was I wrong! The real disaster seems to be that some people in the fashion industry (cough Vogue Italia) have nicknamed huge, oversized hoops "slave earrings." Did you just do a double-take? I know, so did I.

The fashion bible's website posted an online story about this "important new trend" not that long ago, citing how "slave earrings" (which was then changed to "ethnic earrings") are all about "pure freedom." Pardon?! Sadly, no, this was not copy extracted from a 1857 copy of 19th century women's mag Godey's Lady's Book. It was written this year by people who must be UTTERLY clueless.


Although it's since been tweaked, the original copy read:

If the name brings to mind the decorative traditions of the women of colour who were brought to the southern United States during the slave trade, the latest interpretation is pure freedom. Colored stones, symbolic pendants, and multiple spheres. And the evolution goes on.

Evolution?! More like devolution. Whoever wrote this is so racist, they don't even know how racist they are. They're also totally grasping at straws. See, the thing is these magazine people -- especially in the fashion industry -- seem to be constantly looking for a new hook. They can't just sell "hoop earrings" for the millionth time to masses of women. They've gotta jazz it up, attempt to make it new. And since retro or vintage is always in, I guess they figured they could try to reference something from the past that's not only totally racist, but, as Jezebel notes, sets us back decades. AWESOME. Two thumbs up for caldissimo racial insensitivity, Vogue Italia!

Proving just how clueless they are, the magazine's editor-in-chief, Franca Sozzani, said in a statement that the copy was "a matter of really bad translation from Italian to English." YEAH friggin' right. Way to lean on language barrier as an excuse. Vogue Italia must think the rest of the world is as stupid as they are. But we're not, and this debacle should leave a bad taste about the Vogue brand in any fashion-forward trendsetter's mouth.

What do you think about this racist misstep by Vogue Italia?


Image via Julie Robertson/Flickr

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