Jessica Kennedy, Staff Writer
Kim Kardashian created her own line of “Solutionwear” for people who want body-shaping help through undergarments. Set to launch on September 10, the company was initially named “Kimono” after the Kardashian trend of names beginning with “K.” Before the company began selling the product, the internet became outraged about Kardashian’s choice in brand name.
Traditionally, a kimono is a robe that is a popular icon in Japanese culture. When Kim announced the company’s original name, she was bombarded with criticism of cultural appropriation for her inconsiderate branding. Critics started the hashtag “#KimOhNo” on Twitter and sent the celebrity hundreds of tweets calling her out on her cultural appropriation and wanting to copyright the name of a Japanese culture garment.
A petition started on change.org for people to “Say No to Kim Kardashian’s KIMONO #KimOhNo” got 138,251 signatures. The mayor of Kyoto, Japan, also wrote a letter to Kardashian, relaying to her the importance of the preservation of Japanese culture and to not “monopolize” the kimono as many tourists have done already. To help show Kardashian what she would be taking away from them, Japanese Twitter users started posting pictures of themselves under the hashtag wearing traditional kimonos, showing the beauty and significance of the robes.
Some tweets suggested alternate names Kardashian could have used for her undergarment line. Others speculated whether the entrepreneur named her brand “Kimono” for the publicity, knowing that she would face tremendous backlash but have everyone know what she was releasing. Most people seemed to be angry at a tweet Kardashian posted that didn’t seem to them like a real apology. She wrote, “My brands and products are built with inclusivity and diversity at their core and after careful thought and consideration, I will be launching my Solutionwear brand under a new name. I will be in touch soon. Thank you for your understanding and support always.” Many users responded to this post with speculation that it was all a marketing ploy and continued to stress the importance of not trademarking a cultural icon and using Japanese culture for money. Though many Twitter users responded negatively to this tweet, others supported Kardashian for realizing her mistake and trying to fix it.
After receiving a tremendous amount of backlash, Kardashian listened to people’s concerns and changed the name of her company. She re-announced her shapewear line under the name “SKIMS” on Twitter on August 26. In the tweet, Kardashian wrote, “My fans and my followers are a huge inspiration to me – I’m always listening to their feedback and opinions, and am so grateful they shared their ideas for a new brand name. After much thought and consideration, I’m excited to announce the launch of SKIMS Solutionwear™.” Many people praised Kardashian for renaming the brand and listening to complaints while others continued to be skeptical of her true marketing intentions.
The line of body shaping undergarments is said to “lift, enhance, smooth, and sculpt” on the company’s Twitter. Their products include shaping bras, briefs, shorts, and bodysuits, which range from size XXS to 5XL and come in a variety of natural colors.
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