Kim Kardashian West has launched a line of shapewear called “Kimono,” and has also reportedly filed a trademark for the word in the US.
She wrote on Instagram. “Finally I can share with you guys this project that I have been developing for the last year. I’ve been passionate about this for 15 years. Kimono is my take on shapewear and solutions for women that actually work. I would always cut up my shapewear to make my own styles. And there have also been so many times I couldn’t find a shapewear color that blended with my skin tone. So we needed a solution for all of this.”
She is facing an accusation of cultural appropriation because of this. In Japan, kimono are special articles of clothing. For most people, they are worn only on important occasions, such as at weddings, graduations, and funerals. They are passed down within families from generation to generation. The kimono is a special garment with deep, emotional meaning for many people in Japan. Plus, kimono are not underwear, but outerwear specifically designed to cover the body in seasonal patterns and motifs.
So the idea that Kim Kardashian isn’t only using the word kimono for her underwear but also attempting to trademark is rubbing people the wrong way. Several people expressed their anger over the name of the collection, stating that it is an example of Kim’s “ignorance”.
Reactions From Japan
People in Japan are worrying that the brand will overshadow the word’s real meaning. Causing confusion and misrepresentation, or expressing anger at her attempt to take the word for profit. Here are some reactions from Twitter.
“Nice underwear, but as a Japanese woman who loves to wear our traditional dress, kimono, I find the naming of your products baffling (since it has no resemblance to kimono). If not outright culturally offensive, especially if it’s merely a word play on your name.”
“Please be respectful with Japanese culture. The word Kimono shouldn’t be something that any one company can take advantage and making a profit out of #culturalappropriation.”
Someone else described the range as “absolutely tasteless and awful”, saying the entrepreneur has “zero respect to the Japanese culture”.