Kyoto, Japan – Kim Kardashian is making rounds in social media for the release of her new “shapewear” and causing an even bigger stir for her intention to trademark the word “Kimono.”
On June 26, Kim revealed the announcement of her new line on Instagram, which she said was 15 years in the making.
“Kimono is my take on shapewear and solutions for women that actually work.”
She explained how she would always cut up her undergarments and make her own styles in the past.
Kim also announced that she has applied to trademark the following words: Kimono, Kimono Body, and Kimono World.
While many have been waiting for shapewear that is comfortable and all-inclusive, something did not click with the online community when they heard the news.
Kimonos are garments closely knit to Japanese tradition and have nothing to do with shapewear.
Thus began another round of backlash regarding cultural appropriation for Kim K.
Twitter user @stylevoguette wrote, “Rih (Rihanna) would never. Bey (Beyoncé) would never. Anyone with a working brain would never.”
@Leisha_17 began the now-popular hashtag when she tweeted, “Probably is a good product but the name…I hear it as ‘Kim, oh NO!’” #KimOhNo!
Many waited for Japan to start airing their opinions – and finally, they have.
@Misako Oi posted a photo of herself in a kimono and wrote: “This is #kimono I wore to my wedding. I’d like Kim to imagine how she’d feel if someone treated her wedding, prom or baptism dresses as lingerie. ‘Kimono’ are not just clothes but are a symbol that evokes precious memories and important life events. #KimOhNo”
“In the 15 yrs developing this project, couldn’t you find a cultural advisor” wrote @kasumihrkw
If Kim is successful in trademarking the names, Japanese firms will not be able to sell kimonos in the U.S. using any of the terms registered, reported the South China Morning Post.
A day after her announcement and the backlash, Kim publicly responded by releasing a statement to The New York Times.
She said she has no plans to change the line’s names and believes her move to be “a nod to the beauty and detail that goes into a garment.”
“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 in any way resemble or dishonor the traditional garment. 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. Filing a trademark is a source identifier that 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. My solutionwear brand is built with inclusivity and diversity at its core and I’m incredibly proud of what’s to come.”
Things escalated a bit more when the mayor of Kyoto has released an open letter to Kim on June 28, politely asking her to rethink her decisions.
He noted that the country is currently working on getting kimono culture registered to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
Kadokawa also said that kimono culture is well-loved around the world and it should be shared and not monopolised.
Read the letter below:
“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 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.
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
To date, #KimOhNo has over 6.1 million tags in Instagram with countless Japanese women posting what the real kimono looks like and what the term symbolizes.
According to a trademark attorney who spoke with Highsnobiety, it will take between two and three months for the application to be examined and processed. It would then take another month to get it registered if there are no issues.
If approved with no complications, the trademark would be registered within six months.