Last week, Kim Kardashian announced a new line of shapewear called “Kimono”. We all know the original kimono as the national ceremonial dress of Japan. Kim’s “Kimono” looks nothing like the original article of clothing in any shape or form. On top of that, she had also tried to trademark “Kimono” and claimed that it was a twist on her name.

Many people, Japanese and non-Japanese, expressed their displeasure on social media with the news and soon #Kimohno was trending. Talking with BBC, a Japanese woman named Yuka Ohishi explained, “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. She just chose a word that has ‘Kim’ in it — there’s no respect to what the garment actually means in our culture.”

Even the Mayor of Kyoto, Daisaku Kadokawa, wrote an official statement to Kim asking her not to use “Kimono” in her trademark. He further explained the importance of the traditional dress in Japanese history and culture.

Cultural Appropriation is a serious issue and sadly many celebrities, whether they’re aware of it or not, are some of the biggest offenders. It’s hard to tell if they think that certain things do not apply to them.

And while money talks and has a bit of power, the strength of a single thought united on social media might be a bit stronger. On July 1st, Kim tweeted this:

As a brand, especially in today’s society, one should know their market and do their research. Consumers look to more than just what a brand makes. We also look at what the brand itself stands for and what beliefs it has. This is why the brand has to work hard at being appealing and making sure its foundation is solid and positive. It should not try to gain fans through shock value. And most importantly, the brand should not try to take an important piece of someone’s culture and try to use it for their own monetary gains. Cultural appropriation of any kind is never a good thing and no one, whether they have celebrity status or not, should ever think it’s okay.

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