Kim Kardashian West slammed for trademarking figure-hugging underwear 'Kimono'
Kim Kardashian West is facing a lot of backlash and criticism from people in Japan after she launched her new shapewear brand called Kimono Intimates. The 'Keeping Up with The Kardashians' star said the label which was launched on Tuesday is very inclusive. She added that it "celebrates and enhances the shape and curves of women."
However, people in Japan have slammed the brand and say it is very disrespectful of traditional Japanese clothing. The kimono is typically a long sleeved robe which is tied with a sash and dates back to 15th century Japan. It is now considered to be the national dress of Japan and is mostly worn during traditional ceremonies and special occasions.
A Japanese woman Yuka Ohishi spoke to the BBC and said, "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. [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 the Kimono brand last year in the United States and has also filed trademarks for names such as "Kimono Body", "Kimono Intimates" and "Kimono World". The underwear has been specially designed to create smooth lines underneath clothing and is also available in many different colors. The reality TV star took to Twitter to share that there were "so many times I couldn't find a shapewear color that blended with my skin tone so we needed a solution for all of this."
Many people have objected to the fact that Kim has trademarked a word of massive cultural importance and significance in the Japanese culture. Other people were annoyed as the traditional Japanese garment shares the same name as an intimate underwear brand. Many took to Twitter to express their opinions along with the hashtag - #KimOhNo. Some feared people may start to associate the Kimono with Kardashian West instead of Japan.
Ohishi further added, "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. I imagine it will have an effect on search results, hashtags if this brand becomes as powerful as her other ventures." Prof. Sheila Cliffe from the Jumonji Women's University said, "The [aesthetic] of the kimono is graceful, elegant and gentle. It is not overtly revealing or figure-hugging. It wraps the wearer so they are not exposed."
"If I made a bra and called it a sari... some people would be very annoyed. It shows extreme disrespect... [the Kimono] is an expression of Japanese identity. That word does not belong to Kim Kardashian," she added.