The internet accused reality TV star Kim Kardashian of cultural appropriation Tuesday after the launch of her shapewear line Kimono.
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.
Photos by Vanessa Beecroft pic.twitter.com/YAACrRltX3
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) June 25, 2019
“Finally I can share with you guys this project that I have been developing for the last year,” Kardashian tweeted along with photos of the new line. “I’ve been passionate about this for 15 years. Kimono is my take on shapewear and solutions for women that actually work.” (RELATED: Kim Kardashian Speaks At White House Hiring And Re-Entry Event As Part Of Criminal Justice Reform)
Critics of Kardashian immediately pointed out the irony of the name. While the name of her fashion line is Kimono, the product doesn’t resemble the traditional Japanese robe.
From my perspective of being a Japanese-American and having grown up with the cultural aesthetic and legacy, it is disrespectful to call these underwear “kimono.” Kimono is a type of Japanese traditional robe that looks nothing like this. It just feels….disrespectful. https://t.co/ZFWYRmsnIx
— 渡邉葉 (@YoWatShiinaEsq) June 25, 2019
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
— Emi????草野絵美 (@emikusano) June 26, 2019
— さと (@sato_kimono) June 25, 2019
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. Pls reconsider
— Yuko Kato (@yukokato1701) June 26, 2019
“Basically, what you’re doing is creating a line of underwear and calling them, ‘traditional Japanese garments’. Is that what you’re aiming for?” Yuko Kato, a BBC News editor tweeted.
“Or, are you intentionally taking a Japanese word of specific and extreme cultural significance, stripping away its meaning, and appropriating it for your brand?” Kato added. “I do hope not, but intentional or otherwise, that will be the result. That’s why many Japanese are crying foul.”
Kardashian reportedly filed a trademark application last April for the word “Kimono” and has filed more applications for different variations including “Kimono Body,” “Kimono Solutionwear” and “Kimono Intimates” this past month.