After accusations of cultural appropriation, Kim Kardashian has renamed her Kimono shapewear line. In 2018, Kim trademarked the names “Kimono Body,” “Kimono Intimates,” and “Kimono World.” According to The Daily Mail, many felt her decision to trademark the word kimono was extremely disrespectful, especially since kimonos are meant to be worn as an outer layer, unlike Kim’s undergarments.
Professor Sheila Cliffe from the Jumonji Women’s University in Niiza, Japan, explained where Kim went wrong in naming her shapewear line.
“If I made a bra and called it a sari… some people would be very annoyed. It shows extreme disrespect. [The Kimono] is an expression of Japanese identity. That word does not belong to Kim Kardashian,” stated Professor Cliffe.
Fans were quick to share their disapproval.
“Wow, @KimKardashian. Thanks for BUTCHERING Japanese culture!!! My culture is not your plaything. You don’t have any respect for people who are not your family, do you?” wrote one online commenter.
Initially, Kim did not back down. The mogul told The New York Times she would not change the name of her shapewear name, despite immense pressure.
However, after Kyoto Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa urged The Keeping Up With the Kardashians star to “reconsider” her brand’s name, Kim took to Instagram to clear up the controversy.
In the post, Kim claims her brand and products has always been inclusive, but due to backlash, she has made the decision to re-launch her line under the name Solutionwear.
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Being an entrepreneur and my own boss has been one of the most rewarding challenges I’ve been blessed with in my life. What’s made it possible for me after all of these years has been the direct line of communication with my fans and the public. I am always listening, learning and growing - I so appreciate the passion and varied perspectives that people bring to me. When I announced the name of my shapewear line, I did so with the best intentions in mind. My brands and products are built with inclusivity and diversity at their core and after careful thought and consideration, I will be launching my Solutionwear brand under a new name. I will be in touch soon. Thank you for your understanding and support always.
Kim asserts the initial naming of her shapewear after a traditional 15th-century Japanese garment was innocent, reports People.
In her first interview since the Kimono controversy, the reality star told WSJ Magazine she did not think the Kimono brand would spark so much contention. That being said, she was willing to listen to her critics.
“You would think we would have obviously thought it through a little bit deeper,” said Kim, “I obviously had really innocent intentions… I want to really listen. And I want to really take it all in.”
The mom of four also noted she adores and respects Japanese culture. She revealed her husband, Kanye West, was actually in Japan when the conversation went down. In addition, Kanye was essentially the creative director of the line.
Kim went onto say she believes due to her level of fame, she is held to a “higher standard” than others. She does, however, agree she needs to take responsibility and make amends for offending so many people.