Beauty mogul Kim Kardashian West has given her first interview since the recent backlash forced her to change the name of her Kimono shapewear line. She claims that she had “innocent intentions” when launching the ill-fated venture last month and that she’s held to a higher standard.
“You would think we would have obviously thought it through a little bit deeper,” the 38-year-old said of the line’s disputed name in a Monday piece for the Wall Street Journal magazine.
“I’m the first person to say, ‘OK, of course, I can’t believe we didn’t think of this.’ I obviously had really innocent intentions. But, let’s listen. And I want to really listen. And I want to really take it all in,” she said.
Spinning the controversy as a learning experience, the ubiquitous reality star attempted to paint a sympathetic portrait of the saga. The piece recounts how and why Kardashian relented after misunderstanding the cultural meaning of kimono, the ceremonial Japanese garment whose name she appropriated, and how it was an affront to use the punned term on a line of undergarments.
Then there was the issue of trademarking Kimono as a brand, a 2018 move that was revealed when she announced the line on June 25 to enormous criticism. About a week later, she backtracked “due to the collective weight of so many voices explaining why kimono resonates within Japanese culture,” the Journal said. (The Times was among those voices.)
“I do realize, though, that there might be more eyes on me and my brand,” she added. “And so I have to tune it out and really learn and really grow and have to realize that maybe there is a different standard. Do I feel held to a higher standard? I’ll take responsibility for that and do the right thing.”
Kardashian has not yet chosen a new name for the line, which is intended to disrupt the shapewear industry and rival powerhouse brands such as Spanx, Victoria’s Secret and Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty. Kardashian, who is also studying to be a lawyer, said the venture is more imperative to women than her KKW Beauty and Fragrance line because “everyone needs this! Underwear, bras—this is what people wear every day.”
The magazine reported that the Kimono-branded items were ready to ship, the Kanye West-drawn logo was all over Kimono’s website and the garments themselves had already been stamped with the controversial name when the backlash erupted.
So she, her team of investors and employees are now reworking the items and trying to recycle what was already made so that “nothing will go to waste” — or become a prized find if they make their way to EBay.
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