Kim Kardashian West is expanding her empire with the launch of a new underwear and shapewear line.
She describes it as a range that "celebrates and enhances the shape and curves of women," and it comes in nine shades, for sizes XXS to 4XL.
However, the name of the new range – Kimono – has caused outcry on social media.
This is a new approach to shapewear: Offering real solutions in 9 shades and sizes XXS-4XL, @kimonobody celebrates and enhances the shape and curves of women. Each piece is designed with soft yet supportive fabrics for everyone to feel their most confident. #KimonoBody pic.twitter.com/Cr81BqiLT4— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) 25 June 2019
The kimono is a traditional Japanese robe that features long wide sleeves and an accompanying sash, called an obi.
According to the Victoria & Albert museum, the term "kimono" was first used in the mid-19th century and means "the thing worn" – but as an outfit, it dates back even further. The pattern of the outfit is particularly important because it can convey personality, status and wealth.
Some on social media are calling out reality TV star Kardashian West for disregarding Japanese culture, history and tradition.
I feel very sad that the name "Kimono" is being used to something completely different from what we Japanese know about it. Kimono is Japanese traditional clothes and we are very proud of its history and culture. I'm sorry but I feel this name choice is simply ignorant. #KimOhNo— ヤス＠BUNKAIWA(ブンカイワ) (@bunkaiwa) 26 June 2019
Absolutely tasteless and awful. You have ZERO respect to the Japanese culture, do you. What's wrong with you.— TrinityNYC (@TrinityNYC) 25 June 2019
I'm from Japan. For us, Kimono represents the beauty & elegance of the country's tradition. Your spandex underwear brand has nothing to do with it. I'm offended.
Others have noted that there appears to be little or no connection between the items in Kardashian West’s shapewear and underwear line, and the traditional form of a kimono.
I'm interested in new shapewear but Kimono? Trademarking & profiting without any actual true appreciation and recognition of the origin of the name, a cultural garment from Japan, is just gross. Her line has nothing to do with the name yet seeks profit from it. #appropriation https://t.co/vTMSASq0W0— Tania Ginoza (@TaniaGinoza) 25 June 2019
Basically, what you're doing is creating a line of underwear and calling them, 'traditional Japanese garments’. Is that what you’re aiming for? 👘— Yuko Kato (@yukokato1701) 26 June 2019
Nope. Don't call this Kimono (even if it is a play on your name). Cultural appropriation for financial benefit is very icky — especially here. Goodbye. https://t.co/BznhjmMVyY— Philiana Ng (@insidethetube) 26 June 2019
One Twitter user shared a few alternative brand names Kardashian West could try instead, that would still include her first name ‘Kim’, but could be a better fit for shapewear:
Kimono? 🙅🏽♀️🙅🏽♀️🙅🏽♀️ Could've gone so many ways, e.g:— Esther Cook (@mumofsoulnwhim) 25 June 2019
KIMOTION (Kim + Motion) A play on commotion (a disturbance), motion = movement;
KIMETIC (Kim + Kinetic), physics, energy an object has due to its motion;
Anything relating to MOVEMENT bc shapewear can often be restricting.
In light of the furor, many women are taking to social media to share pictures of themselves wearing traditional kimonos, using the hashtag #KimOhNo.
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.— Misako Oi (@misakohi) 26 June 2019
"Kimono" are not just clothes but are a symbol that evokes precious memories and important life events. #KimOhNo pic.twitter.com/gD2KrTzsLR
For many, kimonos are deeply personal and a connection to their culture and ancestry.
These are my grandmother's kimonos. Some of these are dyed and embroidered by herself. When I was child, I loved watching she embroidered on kimono cloth. My grandmother who makes beautiful embroidery is also beautiful and I always felt it magical. #KimOhNo pic.twitter.com/29v3pzCGDn— Ginji_GoldFish (@Ginji_GoldFish) 26 June 2019
According to the BBC, Kardashian West trademarked the brand name in the US last year, and has also filed trademarks for "Kimono Body", "Kimono Intimates" and "Kimono World".