Kim Kardashian West delighted many with the introduction of her new shapewear line.
Dubbed “solutionwear,” her take on Spanx purported to solve numerous problems regular wearers have had with the slimming undergarments in the past.
Unfortunately the name she chose stepped on a lot of toes. Over 127 million in fact.
See, Kim called her line Kimono. Yes, the traditional Japanese garment.
Why? We don’t know. Perhaps a portmanteau of Kim and “mono” as in it’s all one garment? (Though that isn’t even true in many cases.)
Either way, it’s not only confusing as there’s another article of clothing called a kimono — it’s also culturally insensitive.
It’s the name of a traditional, culturally significant garment of a nation — and she somehow was allowed to TRADEMARK it??
After enough backlash even she couldn’t ignore it, Kim put out a statement defending her decision:
“I understand and have deep respect for the significance of the kimono in Japanese culture and have no plans to design or release any garments that would any way resemble or dishonor the traditional garment.”
Sure, maybe she doesn’t NOW.
But it sure seems like she did. Before all the backlash.
See, you can go look at trademarks on the USPTO’s website. They’re public record so people can double check they don’t waste time trying to get a TM someone already holds.
Three days ago, this was Kim’s.
Not planning on making anything resembling the traditional Japanese garment, eh??
But AFTER the backlash, the day after she claimed she never intended to make actual kimonos, we looked again:
So she seemingly changed course to avoid controversy but is trying to make it seem like she was being legit the whole time?
But it isn’t just Kim making kimonos that’s the problem, it’s that she tried to OWN the word.
In regards to the name, Kim also said in her statement:
“I made the decision to name my company Kimono, not to disassociate the word from its Japanese roots but as a nod to the beauty and detail that goes into a garment.”
Well, someone else has something to say about that — someone with a better idea about the Japanese roots of the kimono.
Daisaku Kadokawa, the Mayor of Kyoto.
Daisaku wrote an open letter directly to Kim, asking for her to change the name, writing:
“Dear Ms. Kim 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.
Kimono is a traditional ethnic dress fostered in our rich nature and history with our predecessors’ tireless endeavors 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.
In recent years, we see not only Japanese but also many foreign tourists wearing Kimono and strolling around in Kyoto and cities in Japan. It is a proof that Kimono, that we are proud of as our traditional culture, is loved by people from around the world.
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.
I would like you to visit Kyoto, where many Japanese cultures including Kimono have been cherished, to experience the essence of Kimono Culture and understand our thoughts and our strong wish.
Mayor of Kyoto”
The biggest critics probably doubt Kim will budge here.
After all, according to those trademark screenshots, it really seems like she’s not even willing to be 100 about her intentions in the first place — unless her team just threw any and every possible garment in there for good measure, but still.
We’re sure critics can’t imagine she actually cares about “the beauty and detail” of an actual kimono. No, we’re guessing they think she just likes how the name sounds because it has KIM in it.
Gurl, your product looks great. Why not just call a mea culpa and change the name to SOLUTIONWEAR??
What do YOU think Kim’s intentions behind the name really were??
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