Dolce & Gabbana isn't the only brand with a shoe called the Slave Sandal
Newsflash: Vivienne Westwood + Melissa also has a Slave Sandal
Dolce & Gabbana are once again under fire. The brand's new offence: naming this colourful shoe the Slave Sandal. However, these aren't the only pair of shoes called the Slave Sandals in the market now.
A pair of platform high heels that Vivienne Westwood designed in collaboration with jelly shoe brand Melissa was also called Slave Sandals. These are currently still available on Melissa's website.
Dolce & Gabbana has since changed the name that appears on its product page from "Slave sandal in napa leather with pompoms" to "Decorative flat sandal in napa leather with pompoms." Interestingly, the description of the shoe reveals another name for it: Bianca.
Why someone made the decision to use the name Slave Sandal instead of Bianca boggles the best of us, especially when you consider today's modern mindset, in which the notion of slavery is completely archaic. A backlash from netizens was bound to happen, and it did.
.@dolcegabbana Just wondering what possessed you to name your latest summer sandals "The Slave Sandal"? Wow.— Strategic Comms Girl (@FlackInTheCity) 3 March 2016
I thought it was common sense not to name anything "slave". #DolceandGabbana— trang (@chuchutrang) 4 March 2016
In all fairness, Footwear News pointed out that the term "slave sandal" was once actually used to describe the lace-up shoe now better-known as the gladiator sandal. While Dolce & Gabbana might have a technical (albeit still rather offensive) excuse to use the Slave Sandal name, it's difficult to see how the Vivienne Westwood + Melissa heels resemble gladiator sandals, other than the fact that the strap wraps around the ankle – but couldn't they just call that ankle-strap sandals?
Dolce & Gabbana has received a lot of backlash on social media, but if we're going to criticise the Italian brand for something that could have easily just been a case of 'lost in translation', we need to talk about the Vivienne Westwood + Melissa shoe, too.