Kim Kardashian unveiled her newest venture this week, with the makeup mogul announcing her shapewear line, Kimono Solutionwear. Kardashian was immediately hit with backlash over the name, and the reality star released a statement on Thursday attempting to clarify the situation and address accusations of cultural appropriation.
"I understand and have deep respect for the significance of the kimono in Japanese culture and have no plans to design or release any garments that would in any way resemble or dishonor the traditional garment," the KKW Beauty founder said in a statement to the New York Times. "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."
She also addressed the criticism she received when it was reported that she had filed to trademark the phrases "Kimono," "Kimono Body," "Kimono Intimates" and "Kimono World."
"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," Kardashian continued. "My solutionwear brand is built with inclusivity and diversity at its core and I'm incredibly proud of what's to come."
After Kardashian revealed her line, many people pointed out that the kimono is a traditional Japanese garment and that form-fitting shapewear is almost the antithesis of a kimono.
Naming your product/startup with Japanese words might seem hip and all, but it really sucks for us when our culture is diluted by names of brands that don't have anything to do with what the word actually represents.— Yuka Ohishi (@0oyukao0) June 25, 2019
And better yet, trademarking it? F NO.https://t.co/8pFaEGdXI2
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
why’s it called kimono if that’s a completely different style of clothing. I get that you’re incorporating your name but kimono is the name of a traditional (and cultural) japanese robe.— gloria (@needybratz) June 25, 2019
I feel your passion and love on your new project. However, I'm— Noire (@Lovelylndeed) June 26, 2019
afraid the inappropriate naming might deteriorate our traditional "Kimono" culture. To make your project go well, I'm wondering if you have any chances to change the name since it has nothing to do with our culture. pic.twitter.com/9ypxByXHcS
In announcing her new venture, Kardashian shared that she's been developing the idea for a year and has been passionate about shapewear for 15 years.
"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 shapeware (sic) color that blended with my skin tone so we needed a solution for all of this," she wrote.
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
Photo Credit: Gotham/GC Images/Getty Images