Kim Kardashian under fire for cultural appropriation of shapewear

Kim Kardashian under fire for cultural appropriation of shapewear

American reality television star, Kim Kardashian-West has sparked debate in Japan by naming her new line of shapewear ‘Kimono,’ prompting some to accu

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American reality television star, Kim Kardashian-West has sparked debate in Japan by naming her new line of shapewear ‘Kimono,’ prompting some to accuse her of disrespecting the traditional outfit.

The business woman and mother of four, unveiled the new ‘Kimono’ line on Twitter, revealing she had been working for a year on the underwear to offer solutions for women that actually work. Kim says the new line, which comes in sizes XXS to 4XL, offers shapewear in an array of colors to match every skin tone. The collection will feature bras, briefs, bodysuits and other undergarments.

But the announcement garnered mixed reaction both at home and in Japan, with some offering their criticism on Twitter using the hashtag #KimOhNo.
“She’s been to Japan many times. I’m shocked. She has no respect,” tweeted one user in Japanese.

“I like Kim Kardashian, but please pick a name other than kimono if it’s underwear,” wrote another.

“The Japanese government should file a protest against Kardashian,” wrote a third.

Kimono literally means ‘something to wear,’ while Kardashian’s use of it appeared to be a play on her first name.

But now, Kim is defending herself against accusations of cultural appropriation. In a statement to The New York Times on Thursday, the 38 year old said, the name Kimono, was meant as 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,” she said.

She said she has no plans to design or release any garments that would in any way resemble or dishonor 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,” she added.

And not everyone was opposed to the name, with some users arguing it could offer a chance to promote a traditional outfit that is declining in popularity even in Japan. Once a standard of the Japanese wardrobe, the kimono is now often reserved for special occasions, such as weddings and coming-of-age ceremonies, and is mostly worn by women.

And while the elaborate outfits might appear to have little in common with the snug garb being offered by Kardashian, kimonos are not only often hugely expensive but known for being hard to wear. Women frequently hire experts to dress them in kimono because the outfit requires seemingly endless nipping, tucking and strapping.