Dolce & Gabbana Criticized Over Selling "Slave Sandal" Footwear

Dolce & Gabbana "Slave Sandal" - P 2016
Courtesy of Dolce & Gabbana

The Italian fashion house is under fire — yet again — for what many are calling a politically incorrect move.

Dolce & Gabbana's has raised a stir yet again, and unfortunately for them, it has nothing to do with their most recent fairy tale-inspired fall 2016 collection. 

The Italian fashion house is under fire for a $2,395 embellished flat sandal that was just put up for pre-sale on its site. It's not the astronomical price that's caused the uproar, but rather the sandal's name — "the slave sandal" — that's been criticized for being culturally insensitive to African-American history.

Footwear News points out, however, that the term "slave" was often used as a descriptor for the flat sandal style before "gladiator" became the more widely accepted term. The sandal has also popped up in U.S.-based retailers, including Saks Fifth Avenue and Moda Operandi, however the descriptor "slave" has been dropped; it is instead referred to as the "Pom-Pom Leather Lace-Up Sandal" and "Pom-Pom Wrap Around Sandal." Given that Dolce & Gabbana is an Italian company, the use of the word could very well be a 'lost in translation' situation.

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana's PR team should be used to the heat by now, as they've been raked over the coals plenty of times in the past few years for their politically incorrect antics. From their inflammatory anti-IVF comments to offensive earrings they sent down the catwalk in 2012, it seems the brand is constantly in hot water.

Regardless of whether this latest "misstep" was caused by lack of judgment or a lack of a decent translator, we can't be sure. Dolce & Gabbana did not immediately return The Hollywood Reporter's request for comment.