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Kim Kardashian to rename her ‘Kimono’ shapewear amid cultural appropriation outcry

Kim Kardashian to rename her ‘Kimono’ shapewear amid cultural appropriation outcry
Reality TV star and business mogul Kim Kardashian West says she is searching for a new name for her soon-to-be launched Spanx-like underwear brand after she ignited a firestorm online for attempting to trademark ‘kimono.’

In the age when people are so easily offended by a mere hint of cultural appropriation, celebrities and brands exercise extreme caution to avoid the trap of marketing something that might chip away at their carefully crafted image – at least in theory. In practice, they are often accused of being tone-deaf in their business and advertising, whether it’s Katy Perry or Gucci, or in this case, the ubiquitous reality TV mega-star Kim Kardashian West.

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Kardashian West announced on Monday that she would be renaming her shapewear brand ‘Kimono’ after a massive online backlash. Saying that she had opted for the initial name “with the best intentions in mind,” the ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ star added that “after careful thought and consideration,” she would be launching her brand under a new name.

“Thank you for your understanding and support always,” she tweeted, roughly a week after unveiling the original brand name, ‘Kimono.’

Kardashian’s initial naming of her shapewear after a traditional Japanese garment – which also happens to be wordplay on her own name – got many Japanese people, including the mayor of Japan's former capital Kyoto, Daisaku Kadokawa, incensed. Kadokawa penned an official letter to the US celebrity, urging her to change the name, arguing against her attempt to “monopolize” an essential part of Japanese culture.

At first, Kardashian West was reluctant to reconsider her controversial choice, telling the New York Times in a statement earlier that she named her venture “Kimono” as “a nod to the beauty and detail that goes into a garment” and not to “disassociate the word from its Japanese roots.”

She dismissed allegations that she would have had exclusive rights on using the word ‘kimono’ if she successfully trademarked her brand in the US, arguing that no restrictions would be placed on making or using the word “in reference to the traditional garment.”

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