Kim Kardashian West Charged With Cultural Appropriation Over New Shapewear Line

Posted: Jun 26, 2019 3:00 PM
Kim Kardashian West Charged With Cultural Appropriation Over New Shapewear Line

Source: Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File

Kim Kardashian West received backlash over her new shapewear line titled “Kimono” on Tuesday.

Critics took issue with the brand’s trademark, “Kimono,” meant to be a play-on-words using the reality star’s name, but which normally refers to Japanese traditional attire. The kimono is a long-sleeved robe tied with a sash dating back to 15th Century Japan. 

Yuka Ohishi, a Japanese woman, told the BBC that Kardashian West's trademark is disrespectful to Japanese culture. 

"We wear kimonos to celebrate health, growth of children, engagements, marriages, graduations, at funerals. It's celebratory wear and passed on in families through the generations," one Japanese woman, Yuka Ohishi, told the BBC.

"[This] shapewear doesn't even resemble a kimono - she just chose a word that has Kim in it - there's no respect to what the garment actually means in our culture."

Kardashian West trademarked "Kimono" last year, also filing trademarks for "Kimono Body," "Kimono Intimates" and "Kimono World."In her announcement of the collection, Kardashian West tweeted that Kimono "celebrates and enhances the shape and curves of women." 

Ohishi worried that people would begin to associate the kimono with Kardashian West and not Japan or its culture.

"I think Kim has so much influence on pop culture, I fear there will be people who only know the word kimono as her brand," said Ms Ohishi.

"I imagine it will have an effect on search results, hashtags, if this brand becomes as powerful as her other ventures."

On Twitter, users were quick to offer their condemnation using the hashtag "KimOhNo"--another play-on-words.

This isn't the first time Kardashian West has been charged with cultural appropriation. In the past she has received backlash for wearing her hair in cornrows and putting on an Indian headpiece.

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