Kim Kardashian is once again in the middle of a cultural appropriation controversy. This time, it’s for her latest shapewear line called Kimono.
The name itself is enough to raise eyebrows. But, as TMZ noted, Kim isn’t the first person or brand to use “kimono” for products. the. However, what’s off-putting is the fact Kimono Intimates, Inc. filed a trademark patent for the word “KIMONO” in a stylized font (designed by Kanye West) for use on underwear, bustiers, pasties, headwear, dog harnesses, and actual kimonos. It’s reportedly awaiting approval.
What does this mean if the trademark is approved? Twitter account Tokyo Fashion noted that, if granted, it would allow Kim to “ban Japanese companies from using the word ‘kimono’ in America.” They also cited a similar incident wherein Gwen Stefani tried to trademark “Harajuku” for exclusive use on her clothing.
Kimonos are traditional long-sleeved robes that’s been used in Japan since the 15th century. It’s also considered the national dress of the country. Yuka Ohishi told BBC, “”We wear kimonos to celebrate health, growth of children, engagements, marriages, graduations, at funerals. It’s celebratory wear and passed on in families through the generations. [This] shapewear doesn’t even resemble a kimono—she just chose a word that has Kim in it—there’s no respect to what the garment actually means in our culture.”
Kotaku added that kimonos aren’t meant to be underwear. They are “outerwear specifically designed to cover the body in seasonal patterns and motifs.” Japanese Twitter users also called Kim out on this using the hashtag “#KimOhNo.”
So, how is this cultural appropriation? In definition, it’s the “inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, etc. of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society.” Based on what we’re seeing, Kim is turning kimono into her signature. And no, having actual kimonos in the lineup doesn’t exactly save her.
Do you think Kim would consider renaming or taking back the trademark filing? Let us know your thoughts.[Kotaku and BBC]
Photo courtesy of Kimono’s Instagram account
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