Kim Kardashian has riled up the social-media community with the introduction of her new line of shapewear dubbed Kimono Solutionwear and her appropriation of the Japanese word “kimono."
On Tuesday, the reality-TV star and beauty entrepreneur launched news of her latest endeavor (think Spanx) on social media with the caption: “Finally I can share with you guys this project that I’ve been developing for the last year. I’ve been passionate about this for 15 years.” The collection, due out in about a month, features nine different skin tones and an inclusive size range going from XXS to 4XL. It includes seamless bras, one-piece underpinnings, high-waisted undies and one kooky look (though clever): the "solution short” which has only one leg reaching mid-thigh (the other leg is cut higher, resembling bikini underwear), for, says Kardashian, “all of those times I wanted to wear a dress or skirt with a slit and still needed the support.”
Kardashian has registered the words Kimono Solutionwear, Kimono Body and Kimono with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
However, nothing in Kardashian’s lineup comes close to resembling a kimono, defined as a long loose robe tied with a sash. And folks are outraged, accusing her of cultural appropriation for the sake of a pun on her name. “Kimono: Has a centuries long rich history and is deeply embedded in the traditions and culture of a country. Kim Kardashian: OMg It hAs mY name iN iT” wrote one user, including the hashtag #KimOhNo.
Others were equally angered. “Naming your product/startup with Japanese words may seem hip and all, but" it's really terrible "for us when our culture is diluted by names that don’t have anything to do with what the word actually represents. And better yet trademarking it?” wrote another user. As of Wednesday afternoon #KimOhNo had been used more than 73,000 times on Twitter.
This isn’t the first time Kardashian has ignited controversy in this vein. In 2017, she was accused of wearing blackface for the launch of her beauty line, KKW. In 2018, she credited blonde, blue-eyed "10" star Bo Derek, after Kardashian sported Fulani braids in her hair on several public outings resembling the ones worn in the 1979 film by the actress. The braids are believed to have originated in Africa.