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Kim Kardashian will rename her “Kimono” shapewear line backlash



Kim Kardashian has heard your complaints. The TV star, business mogul, and aspiring lawyer will rename her forthcoming shapewear brand of bodysuits and other Spanx-like underthings, after its original name, Kimono, raised concerns of cultural appropriation.

“I am always listening, learning and growing – I so appreciate the passion and varied perspectives that people bring to me,” Kardashian said on Monday morning in a trio of tweets. “When I announced the name of my shapewear line, I did so with the best intentions in mind.

“My brands and products are built with inclusivity and diversity at their core,” she continued, “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.”

The rebrand comes just a week after Kardashian unveiled her line of “shapewear and solutions for women” via Twitter on June 25. Although some of her followers (including fellow celeb Chrissy Teigen) praised the brand’s wide array of styles for women of diverse body types and skin colors, others called out Kardashian for borrowing the word for a traditional Japanese style of dress for her venture. (Kardashian has a habit of inserting her first name into whatever she’s selling — like her emoji line, “Kimoji” — but in this case, the approach is a little more tenuous. “Kim” is already part of “kimono,” and kimono is a … type of clothing. That’s about it.)

The kimono has evolved since its beginnings during Japan’s Heian period (794 to 1185 AD), which saw many men and women wearing the wide-sleeved, ground-skirting outfit on a regular basis. The modern kimono — with longer sleeves and a wider waist tie — arrived during the 1600s and has remained virtually the same ever since. Because the kimono is a heavy, expensive, and delicate piece of clothing, the garments are typically worn today in Japan during formal occasions only, and with a sense of pride.

But the kimono’s striking look — sweeping sleeves and a robe-like construction, often adorned with intricate designs — have given it international renown. And that has often led to appropriative takes on the Japanese fashion, with many brands crafting their own drapey “kimono” cardigans and shawls, which tend to be modeled by white women and loosely inspired by the real thing. Prior to Kardashian’s recent controversy, Japanese writers had called out the fashion industry for its seeming obsession with the kimono.

“Contrary to what Orientalist art and contemporary brands might have you believe, kimonos are not just clothes,” Emi Ito, a Japanese American blogger and educator, wrote earlier this year. “They are garments worn for celebrations, sacred ceremonies, and life’s milestones. They are part of our family stories, which for some of us, are the stories of what was left behind and the people who are no longer with us.”

Loose-fitting shawls are one thing — but traditional kimono can hardly be called “sexy” in the way that Kim Kardashian’s shapewear line, which is intended to be skin-tight by nature, seems meant to evoke.

Heidi Klum wears a kimono-inspired jacket at Paris Fashion Week earlier this week — one that borrows heavily from the traditional style but is divorced from its context.
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

In response to Kardashian’s brand announcement, Japanese visual artist Mariko Umeda pointed out in a tweet that shapewear is at odds with the general concept of the kimono.

“Nice underwear, but as a Japanese woman who loves to wear our traditional dress, kimono, I find the naming of your products baffling (since it has no resemblance to kimono), if not outright culturally offensive, especially if it’s merely a word play on your name,” Japanese BBC News editor Yuko Kato said, asking Kardashian to “reconsider” the name of her line.

As a non-Japanese person, and one seemingly unaware of the kimono’s cultural history, Kardashian continued to receive blowback throughout the week that followed the announcement. The name even briefly inspired a hashtag, #KimOhNo, to call out the poor branding. The criticism only intensified when Business Insider reported that Kardashian had filed a trademark application for the word “kimono.”

At first, Kardashian stood behind the name and her decision to trademark it. “I understand and have deep respect for the significance of the kimono in Japanese culture,” she said in a statement to the New York Times on June 27. She added that trademarking the word “will allow me to use the word for my shapewear and intimates line but does not preclude or restrict anyone, in this instance, from making kimonos or using the word kimono in reference to the traditional garment.”

Even the mayor of Kyoto, one of Japan’s major cities, weighed in, asking Kardashian to reconsider her plans in an open letter.

“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,” wrote Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa.

But now Kardashian has reversed course, to the satisfaction of her Japanese followers and others who had called for her to change the name. Based on Kardashian’s not-great track record with cultural appropriation, however, her next challenge will be to avoid making the same mistake with her next branding attempt.

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1 Comment

1 Comment


    July 25, 2019 at 10:48 am

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    They’re very convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are very quick for newbies.
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This is Why It’s Time to Rethink Millennial Stereotypes
















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Harvard Business Review Names 100 Best-Performing CEOs – WWD




MAKING THE GRADE: Nvidia’s cofounder Jensen Huang took top honors for the Harvard Business Review’s 2019 “Best-Performing CEOs in the World,” but numerous captains of industry in fashion, retail and beauty had strong showings.

Kering’s Francois-Henri Pinault led the fashion pack, finishing third on the list, with his fellow Frenchman Bernard Arnault of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton was next in line among the fashion crowd at 10th. Like many of this year’s finalists, the two European luxury houses share a competitive spirit. Pinault finished fourth last year and Arnault was third.

This year’s field was at an advantage since last year’s number-one performer — Inditex’s Pablo Isla — switches roles from chief executive officer to chairman, a move that knocked him out-of-the-running for this year’s list. Indicative of the focus on “objective performance measures over a ceo’s entire tenure,” 65 of this year’s Top 100 were also on last year’s list.

For the past four years, the rankings have been tallied based on financial performances as well as environmental, social and governance ratings. One change in the criteria involved increasing the ESG scores of each ceo to 30 percent from 20 percent. As purposefulness gains ground with business leaders, so too must the list’s criteria. Upping the ESG factor meant that Amazon’s ceo Jeff Bezos didn’t rank in this year’s list, despite having been 68th on last year’s list. Amazon’s ESG scores were lacking due to risks created by working conditions, employment policies, data security and antitrust issues, according to analysis by Sustainalytics, one of the two ESG data firms that helped HBR cull the findings.

L’Oréal’s Jean-Paul Agon finished 19th, and he was followed by Nike’s Mark Parker at 20th. (Nike announced Tuesday that Parker will become executive chairman, and John Donahue 2nd, an executive board member, will become president and ceo on Jan. 13.) Givaudan’s Gilles Andrier ranked 30th and another beauty leader, Fabrizio Freda of The Estee Lauder Cos. Inc,, locked in the 39th position. One of the early believers in the ath-leisure trend, Glenn Chamandy, who joined Gildan Activewear in 2004, ranked 49th; Shisheido’s Masahiko Uotani secured the 52nd slot, and another well-established Japanese c-suite-er, Fast Retailing’s Tadashi Yanai, finished 54th. The Uniqlo creator is also the second most seasoned executive on the Top 100 list, having started the company in 1984. Ninety-sixth-ranked SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son was first for seniority, having started at the Japanese company n 1981. Tencent’s Ma Huateng was 63rd (right below Apple’s Tim Cook at 62). Simon Property’s David Simon ranked 67th and another retail-minded finisher was Next’s Simon Wolfson at 78th.

One area that is lacking is the representation of female executives. Of the 876 companies whose ceo’s were eligible for the list only 34 — or 4 percent — were women, according to a HBR spokeswoman. Wolters Kluwer’s Nancy McKinstry at 16; Advanced Micro Devices Lisa Su at 26; Ventas’ Debra Cafaro at 29, and Lockheed Martin’s Marillyn Hewson at 37 made the cut — one more than last year’s total of three female executives.

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