Is Kim Kardashian’s Kimono Venture Truly Problematic?

Kim Kardashian

The Kardashians are no strangers to controversy at this point. Right from the moment reality’s first family graced our TV screens in 2007, their fame has attracted, and can arguably be attributed to the constant drama that trails their lives and business decisions. While some major allegations and rumors have pushed the family towards social media cancellation, (remember the Kendall-Pepsi ad?) so far, the internet’s obsession with their lives has kept them booked and busy.

A majority of the Kardashian spotlight has been directed at Khloe and Kylie recently, following the infamous Jordyn Woods and Tristan Thompson kiss. Kim, on the other hand, has been gaining approval from her haters, based on her recent work in prison reforms. The busy entrepreneur who already has fragrances and make-up products in her name, however, announced a new venture, which brought back a common phrase associated to the clan, “cultural appropriation”.

Her newest project announced June 25th, is a shapewear line called, Kimono. Yes, the same name as the famous Japanese fit that Nigerians seem to be into at this moment too. Stylizing the letters, Kim’s announcement brought a truckload of backlash, with a majority of people calling her out for attempting to profit off a name synonymous to a particular country and culture.

The situation was further exacerbated by Kim’s decision to trademark the name. If people weren’t upset before, this definitely tipped them off the edge. The situation got so heated, a petition was drafted out, with over 35,000 signatures calling for her to change its name.

Responding through a statement made available to the New York Times, Kim, while stating her utmost respect for the word and its origin, showed no signs of backing down, with plans still set in place to launch the shapewear line, with its originally announced name.

“I understand and have a 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. 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.”

Why is everyone outraged?

If you follow the Kardashians or so much as have access to Al Gore’s internet, you’d know that the Kardashians have constantly been under fire for cultural appropriation, and stealing from smaller, lesser known brands. From Kim’s Fulani braids which she named “Bo Derek braids for no reason, to Kylie’s transformation into a white girl’s version of a black girl, lips and all.

Taking their track record into account, you can see why everyone was a little freaked out by the announcement. This just seemed like another quick money making venture for the klan. However, the word “Kimono’ which originates from Japan, and is used to describe a particular culture attached to the outfits.

“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 solution wear brand is built with inclusivity and diversity at its core and I’m incredibly proud of what’s to come.”

Even though Kim has denied filing papers to seize ownership of the name. How can we trust her? If Kim’s shapewear in any way looked like a kimono, the case might have been different. However, she didn’t. Disregarding the history and beauty of the kimono, just so you can splash it on a spandex bodyshaper, is insulting. If Kim took out time to think and research, before making this announcement, she might have saved me the stress needed to write this.


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