Kim Kaves To Kultural Appropriation Pressure

The K-audacity

You asked, she listened... 

Last week when Kim Kardashian West announced her new shapewear line, Kimono by Kim Kardashian West, the announcement was quickly overshadowed by outrage as many people called out the mogul for appropriating Japanese culture.

Well, it looks like Kim listened, and today, July 1, she announced that she'll be changing the name of the collection.

In an Instagram posted Monday morning, Kim explained that much of her success is due to her close relationship with her fans and learning from the various perspectives, which is what led her to change the name. "When I announced the name of my shapewear line, I did so with the best intentions in mind," she continued in the post. "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." At the time of writing, Kimono's official site has been shut down.

Kim, if you're reading, we suggest; 'Khapewear'? or maybe ‘Bikimi’?

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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.

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When you think of the word 'kimono', do you think of a traditional Japanese garment bestowed with centuries of historical significance? Or do you think of a poor attempt a pun on Kim Kardashian-West's name that would lend itself to the perfect title for her latest business endeavour? The answer is an obvious one, unless you are, well, Kim Kardashian-West. 

On Tuesday, Kim debuted her latest project: a line of specially developed shapewear designed to suck and smooth all of your 'problem' areas. Nothing wrong there, consider me sold. The controversy, however, surrounds itself after the collection has been dubbed '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,” she explained of the underwear on Instagram.

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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 shapeware color that blended with my skin tone so we needed a solution for all of this. The third pic is the solution short. I developed this style for all of those times I wanted to wear a dress or skirt with a slit and still needed the support. Introducing Kimono Solutionwear™ for every body. Coming Soon in sizes XXS - 4XL in 9 shades. I can’t wait for you to feel this fabric!#KimonoBody @kimono Photos by Vanessa Beecroft

A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

Though the title is clearly a (poor) play on her name, soon after a huge number of people took to social media to call Kim out for disrespecting Japanese culture and flippantly co-opting the name of a garment imbued with hundreds of years of historical significance. 

Shockingly, the form-fitting underwear on offer bears very little resemblance to the wrapped silhouettes that immediately spring to mind on hearing the word. More shocking yet, it has been revealed that ‘Solutionwear™’ isn’t the only trademark Kim’s been gunning for, with applications filed for the names “Kimono Intimates” (since rejected), “Kimono Body”, and, literally, “Kimono”, effectively banning anyone in the US from marketing products using the terms if granted (spoiler: they won’t be).

In an act of global retaliation, Twitter and Instagram users, including London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, have even taken to playing the Calabasas queen at her own punning game with the hashtag #KimOhNo.

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 EXTRA EXTRA 

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Now, I'm somewhat of a Kim Kardashian stan. I watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians religiously, as a fellow big-bust lady, I take her advice to wear more than one sports bra when working out, she thought me the importance of a snatched contour and surprisingly, I look up to her as somewhat of a role model. 

Over the years, Kim has made some rather questionable choices and for the most part, I've stood by her. This time around, however, not even my loyalty to the woman who thought me it was okay to be an ugly crier can push me to defend her.

But, one wonders, is being inspired by another nation's culture really cultural appropriation? 

The topic lends itself to a whole other article, a thesis even. But briefly, going back to decades long ago, taking inspiration from other cultures was how art evolved. Painters, sculptors and designers alike would travel around the world for not only inspiration but to upskill on their craft.

Was the finale dress from Guo Pei’s “Arabian 1002th Night” Spring/Summer 2010 Haute Couture Collection cultural appropriation?

Was 2015's Met Gala cultural appropriation?

How about every eyeshadow palette from the early 2000s called 'Oriental Princess', was that cultural appropriation?

As I said, it's a topic for another day, but one that's worth considering given the current controversy. 

But in typical Kim K fashion, she addressed the backlash over her shapewear line in a statement released earlier today. Kim said that she had named the line Kimono as a "nod to the beauty and detail that goes into the garment", adding that she has no intention of ever selling anything that would "resemble or dishonour" the traditional item of clothing. 

On one hand, I believe her, I believe there wasn't any malicious intent. But on the other, it reads an awful like an extremely well thought out press release that Kris Jenner was undoubtedly involved in. 

In any case, she is not, it turns out, the first brand with no particular kimono-related history to attempt to attach the name to a product. There are Kimono condoms, and Kimono Lash eyelash extensions - but that doesn't make it right. 

Main image by @kimkardashian on Instagram

READ: Why One Should Never Underestimate Kim Kardashian West

READ MORE: Why We All Need To Be A Bit More Maura

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