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US vice-president-elect Kamala Harris has landed on the cover of the February issue of Vogue magazine, but her team says the photo of Ms Harris which appears on the cover was not what both sides had agreed upon.

Instead of the powder blue power suit Harris wore for her cover shoot, the first African American woman elected vice-president is instead seen in more casual attire and wearing Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers, which she sometimes wore on the campaign trail.

Ms Harris' team was unaware that the cover photo had been switched until images leaked late on Saturday, according to a person involved in the negotiations over how Ms Harris would be featured on the cover.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity and Ms Harris' office declined to comment.

Representatives for Vogue did not respond to emailed requests for comment.

Converse high-top sneakers of Kamala Harris
Ms Harris' more casual shoot, featuring Converse shoes, was agreed to be for inside the magazine.(AP: Wilfredo Lee)

Ms Harris, who is of Jamaican and Indian descent, posed in the light blue suit in front of a gold backdrop for the magazine's cover.

She also posed, more casually dressed in slacks, a blazer and sneakers in front of a pink and green background, for photos that were planned for inside the magazine, the person said.

Pink and green are the colours of Ms Harris' college sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha.

Vogue has released both images online, but the photo of a sneaker-clad Ms Harris is the one that will grace the cover of the fashion bible's print edition.

The cover also generated outrage on social media as posters expressed disappointment in how the magazine decided to present the nation's first female vice-president on its cover.

"Is it racism or simply misogyny that made you break your promise and use the worse photo of strikingly beautiful @KamalaHarris? We all see you," tweeted one user.

"Kamala Harris is about as light skinned as women of colour come and Vogue still f**ked up her lighting," wrote another.

"WTF is this washed out mess of a cover?"

The person with knowledge of the negotiations said Ms Harris' team has expressed to Vogue its disappointment over the magazine's decision.

Ms Harris is set to be sworn in as vice-president on January 20.