Just one day after announcing the launch of her new inclusive shapewear brand, Kimono, Kim Kardashian West is facing immense backlash online with Japanese social media saying her trademarked brand disrespects traditional Japanese clothing and is cultural appropriation.
Overnight, the hashtag 'KimOhNo' started trending on Twitter as people pointed out that the kimono, a long-sleeved robe that’s traditionally tied with a sash, dates back to 15th Century Japan and is an integral part of Japanese culture and the country's identity. Kimonos are generally reserved for special occasions and are passed down from generation to generation.
Many Japanese women shared images of themselves wearing kimonos to signify their significance, writing, "I can’t stand the lack of respect for Japanese culture," and saying the brand's name is "problematic at best.
"We wear kimonos to celebrate health, growth of children, engagements, marriages, graduations, at funerals," one Japanese woman, Yuka Ohishi, told the BBC. "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," she continued.
"Kimonos are not just clothes but are a symbol that evokes precious memories and important life events," one person wrote on Twitter, while another put it simply: "My culture's not your underwear."
Last year, Kardashian trademarked the Kimono brand in the US and the mother-of-four has reportedly also filed trademarks for 'Kimono Body', 'Kimono Intimates' and 'Kimono World” according to the BBC.
The new shapewear is is designed to smooth out lines under clothing and is available in nine different shades, spanning sizes from XXS to 4XL. "I’ve been passionate about this for 15 years," Kardashian wrote on Instagram. "Kimono is my take on shapewear and solutions for women that actually work."
"I would always cut up my shapewear to make my own styles, and there have also been so many times I couldn’t find a shapeware colour that blended with my skin tone so we needed a solution for all of this."
The website for the range says: "Kimono is the culmination of Kim's personal experience with shapewear and is fueled by her passion to create truly considered and highly technical solutions for every body. Whether the desire is to enhance, smooth, lift or sculpt, Kimono provides superior options for all shapes and tones."
Kardashian is yet to respond to the backlash, however, she did post a photo of herself posing on the beach in a bikini earlier this morning.
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This article originally appeared on InStyle Australia