LOS ANGELES - Kim Kardashian West has decided to change the name of her “Kimono” shapewear line after facing harsh backlash for cultural appropriation of the traditional Japanese garment.
West announced the name change of Kimono Solutionwear on her social media.
“My brands and products are built with inclusivity and diversity at their core and after careful thought and consideration, I will be launching my Solutionwear brand under a new name,” she said on Twitter and Instagram.
She did not specify what the new name would be, saying that she “will be in touch soon.”
My brands and products are built with inclusivity and diversity at their core and after careful thought and consideration, I will be launching my Solutionwear brand under a new name. I will be in touch soon. Thank you for your understanding and support always.— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) July 1, 2019
Japanese critics on social media said the name, which West trademarked and is a play on her first name, is an inappropriate take on centuries-old kimono clothing.
The hashtag #KimOhNo was also trending on Twitter, with one user saying “Kimono is really beautiful Japanese traditional clothes. It’s not a underwear. Please don’t use your product name. #KimOhNo”
Kimono is really beautiful Japanese traditional clothes. It’s not a underwear. Please don’t use your product name. #kimOhNo— ミナ (@tiny_mina) June 26, 2019
Time after time we've seen our cultural attire adopted and adapted to everything its NOT. Kimonos/ Chinese dresses are a symbol of tradition, culture, RESPECT and ancestry lessons. Over the years they have been adapted by the west, sexualised & meanings completely erased #Kimohno pic.twitter.com/E3wabwiubQ— Grace (@graceylouu) June 28, 2019
“Japanese people have been pretty forgiving in the past when people have used kimono in ways that Japanese Americans have seen as cultural appropriation. So when even the Japanese get angry about this, YOU! MESSED!! UP!!! #KimOhNo (https://twitter.com/hashtag/KimOhNo?src=hash),“ another user tweeted. https://twitter.com/marikoaustin/status/1143801787130028033
The backlash spanned internationally, with the mayor of Kyoto, Daisaku Kadokawa, penning a letter to Kardashian West.
“I am writing this letter to convey our thoughts on Kimono and ask you to re-consider your decision of using the name Kimono in your trademark,” the mayor wrote. “Kimono is a traditional ethnic dress fostered in our rich nature and history with our predecessors’ tireless endeavours and studies, and it is a culture that has been cherished and passed down with care in our living. Also, it is a fruit of craftsmanship and truly symbolizes sense of beauty, spirits and values of Japanese.”
When the Mayor of Kyoto, a major cultural center of Japan, makes an official request to change the name of your underwear line, not to mention the huge objection from regular Japanese citizens, and you still refuse, you don’t really “understand and have deep respect”. #KimOhNo pic.twitter.com/XG97q4zYgb— Mariko Austin (@marikoaustin) June 29, 2019
The kimono has also evolved to a style of formal dress worn for special occasions, including weddings, funerals and tea ceremonies.
“We are currently undertaking initiatives nationally to make ‘Kimono Culture,‘ symbol of our culture and spirits, registered to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list,” Kadokawa wrote. “We think that the names for ’Kimono’ are the asset shared with all humanity who love Kimono and its culture therefore they should not be monopolized.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.