Kim Kardashian West Accused of Disrespecting Japanese Culture With “Kimono” Line

Kim Kardashian West is facing intense backlash for her shapewear line, “Kimono,” for its appropriation of Japanese culture.

What We Know:

  • Kim announced the “Kimono Body” line of shapewear Tuesday, June 25, set to release in July. The line features shapewear in many different nude shades and shapes meant to accommodate many different garment styles, particularly skirts or dresses with slits in them.

  • People immediately took to Twitter with the hashtag, #KimOhNo, expressing frustration with Kim’s use of a respected Japanese cultural garment to sell her underwear simply because the word works as a pun with her name.
  • A kimono is an ankle-length Japanese gown typically worn for special occasions like weddings or funerals. While the garment has been appropriated in popular culture, particularly in the fashion industry, Kim’s use of the word particularly frustrates people because the line in no way resembles a kimono.
  • Kim has applied for eight trademarks on the word “kimono” in specific fonts and designs for the line, causing more frustration surrounding the line. Kim defended her applications in a statement to the New York Times explaining that her trademark “does not preclude or restrict anyone, in this instance, from making kimonos or using the word kimono in reference to the traditional garment.”
  • Kim also said in the statement that none of her designs will “resemble or dishonor” the traditional garment in any way, but that she does not plan to change the name of the line. “I understand and have deep respect for the significance of the kimono in Japanese culture,” she said.
  • Kimono specialist Sono Fukunishi started a petition to change the cultural disrespect displayed by Kim’s line, particularly citing the trademarks she has applied for. The petition received over 13,000 signatures in its first 10 hours.

Kim’s Kimono line follows a problematic trend of stars appropriating Japanese culture in music videos, performances and fashion.