Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana has backtracked after listing a shoe in its spring 2016 collection called the “Slave sandal”. The shoe, covered in brightly-colored pompoms and mirrored embellishments, will set you back US$2,395 dollars and also set you back in about 100 years in racial prejudice.
According to Footwear News, the term “slave” was once upon a time used to describe what is now known as the ‘gladiator’ sandal. Other retailers have changed D&G’s slave label, calling the shoe as the “Pom Pom Wrap Around Sandal”and the “Pom-Pom Leather Lace-Up Sandal”.
The Spring 2016 collection was inspired by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana Italian heritage through the eyes of tourists who visit the country. Not only have these sandals been accused of racism, but during the runway show three Chinese and Japanese models wore ‘Chinese-inspired outfits’. A section of a press release addresses these looks specifically:
“Because of their travels, [the designers] have rediscovered how people and global travelers see and enjoy Summer in Italy (for example during the show, Chinese and Japanese models wear traditional clothes with Italian embellishments and jewels): they represent tourists that have just arrived in Italy and cannot wait to absorb the local mood and culture.”
— Folayo Lasaki (@justfolayo) March 3, 2016
.@dolcegabbana Just wondering what possessed you to name your latest summer sandals “The Slave Sandal”? Wow.
— Strategic Comms Girl (@FlackInTheCity) March 3, 2016
— Nicole Bitette (@nbitty) March 3, 2016
Since the criticism, Dolce & Gabbana has changed the shoe to “Decorative flat sandal in napa leather with pompoms.” No change in the price though.