Kim Kardashian has responded to accusations of cultural appropriation after she revealed her latest project on social media earlier this week – Kimono shapewear. The name is obviously a play on Kardashian’s first name but it’s also the term for the traditional Japanese garment, steeped deep in the country’s history.
Since unveiling the “solution wear” on Tuesday, Kardashian has copped bulk heat online and within hours, the hashtag #KimOhNo started trending on Twitter.
As one Japanese user tweeted: “I’d like Kim to imagine how she’d feel if someone treated her wedding, prom or baptism dress as lingerie.
“‘Kimono’ are not just clothes but are a symbol that evokes precious memories and important life events.”
This is #kimono I wore to my wedding. I’d like Kim to imagine how she’d feel if someone treated her wedding, prom or baptism dresses as lingerie.
“Kimono” are not just clothes but are a symbol that evokes precious memories and important life events. #KimOhNo pic.twitter.com/gD2KrTzsLR
— Misako Oi (@misakohi) June 26, 2019
BBC News Japanese editor Yuko Kato tweeted: “Nice underwear, but as a Japanese woman who loves to wear our traditional dress, kimono, I find the naming of your product 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 reconsider.”
In a statement to The New York Times, Kardashian said she does not want “to design or release any garment that would in any way resemble or dishonour the traditional garment.”
However, she told NYT she has no plans on changing the name.
I made the decision to name my company Kimono, not to disassociate the word from its Japanese roots but as a nod to the beauty and detail that goes into a garment.
Filing a trademark is a source identifier that will allow me to use the word for my shapewear and intimates line but does not preclude or restrict anyone, in this instance, from making kimonos or using the word kimono in reference to the traditional garment.
My solutionwear brand is built with inclusivity and diversity at its core and I’m incredibly proud of what’s to come.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Kardashian has applied to trademark “Kimono”, “Kimono Body”, and “Kimono World” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.