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Entertainment & Arts

Kim Kardashian West finally caves on Kimono brand after cultural appropriation accusations

Yes, Kim Kardashian’s ‘Kimono’ is cultural appropriation. And she’s not alone
“When I announced the name of my shapewear line, I did so with the best intentions in mind,” Kim Kardashian West said Monday in a notice that she would change the name.
(Laura Thompson / TNS)

Bowing to pressure, Kim Kardashian West will change the name of her Kimono Solutionwear line, presumably to something less controversial, the reality star-turned-entrepreneur announced Monday morning.

“When I announced the name of my shapewear line, I did so with the best intentions in mind,” Kardashian West said on 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.”

The announcement pointedly left out the hot-button word that set off the controversy last week: Kimono, which KKW had applied to trademark in various permutations. She did praise “the direct line of communication with my fans and the public,” which apparently has been on fire since she launched the line Tuesday.

Kardashian West was quickly accused of cultural appropriation of the name. In a Thursday statement to the New York Times, in which she defended her understanding and “deep respect” for the meaning of kimono in Japanese culture, she said she had no plans to change the name.

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But on Monday she was singing a different tune.

“I am always listening, learning and growing — I so appreciate the passion and varied perspectives that people bring to me,” she wrote on Instagram.

It’s unclear whether one of the voices she listened to was that of the mayor of Kyoto, Japan, who on Friday sent a letter, obtained by The Times, that in part described kimono as “a fruit of craftsmanship … [that] truly symbolizes sense of beauty, spirits and values of Japanese.”

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Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa also specifically asked Kardashian West to reconsider using the word kimono in her trademark.

“We are currently undertaking initiatives nationally to make ‘Kimono Culture,’ symbol of our culture and spirits, registered to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. 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,” Kadokawa wrote before inviting Kardashian West to visit the city and deepen her understanding.

On Monday, commenters were already suggesting names like sKim Wear or KimBody in response to her Instagram notice.

cdz@latimes.com

@theCDZ on Twitter and Instagram


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