UPDATE: Kim Kardashian West agrees to drop the brand name Kimono.
Last week, Kim Kardashian West unveiled her latest brand, Kimono, a line of size- and skin tone-inclusive shapewear and intimates. However, the announcement was met with instant criticism that West was, once again, being a culture vulture by co-opting (and trademarking) the word kimono. Japanese people on Twitter were swift to call out West by posting actual kimonos and explaining why her brand is inappropriate—namely, that she was attempting to trademark a word that describes a centuries-old Japanese tradition. Now the mayor of Kyoto has entered the conversation.
In a letter, mayor Daisaku Kadokawa asked West to reconsider her decision to use “kimono,” explaining that “it is a culture that has been cherished and passed down with care in our living” and “a fruit of craftsmanship and truly symbolizes sense of beauty, spirits and values of Japanese.”
Kadokawa also mentioned there are initiatives underway to register “kimono culture” to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. “We think that the names for ‘Kimono’ are the asset shared with all humanity who love Kimono and its culture therefore they should not be monopolized,” Kadokawa said.
Kadokawa invited West to Kyoto to gain a better understanding of kimono culture. Here’s hoping she leaves the film crew behind because all of this just reeks of a Keeping Up with the Kardashians story arc.