Kim Kardashian is, once again, the target of backlash on the Internet.
Just this Tuesday, Kim Kardashian launched her new shapewear brand known as Kimono Solutionwear. For those unacquainted with the term, shapewear refers to women’s underwear used to control and shape the figure. The shapewear that Kim intends to release will be in natural skin colours, and will feature different cuts to suit various styles and types of dresses.
While most can agree that the product is innovative, helpful and aims to be inclusive, at the same time, it’s understandable that people are upset.
After all, the Kimono is a traditional Japanese garment, usually worn on special occasions, such as New Year’s celebrations and Coming of Age ceremonies. It is formal, elegant and has years of history behind it – which is exactly why people are baffled and upset that Kim Kardashian has chosen to use the word “Kimono” (likely a pun on her name) as the name of her underwear brand.
To make matters worse, Kim has applied to register “kimono” as a trademark. That doesn’t mean that only the Kardashians will have exclusive use of the word “kimono”, though. She has specifically applied to register a stylised mark of the word, drawn by her husband, Kanye West. If anything, it just shows her intention to use “Kimono” as a brand name, to the point of trademarking it (ie. being able to sue people who attempt to use the same name in a similar market) which upset people even further.
As a result of all this, amidst cries of cultural appropriation, the hashtag “KimOhNo” has been circulating on both Twitter and Instagram. Netizens have been using the hashtag to (extremely politely) express their disapproval of Kim’s actions, and to post pictures of actual kimono instead.
Whether Kim Kardashian will withdraw her application and change her brand name after this massive backlash remains to be seen. Regardless, it’s worth noting that this is not Kim’s first time using a culture for her own benefit. She has previously been spotted wearing cornrows – a hairstyle that’s usually only worn by certain ethnic groups, as part of their culture.