UPDATE: July 2, 2019: Kim Kardashian West announced via social media that she will be changing the name of her shapewear brand, Kimono. The celebrity received backlash after revealing the brand name, even drawing ire from the mayor of Kyoto, Japan, who asked her to reconsider her decision. "My brands and products are built with inclusion and diversity at their core and after careful thought and consideration, I will be launching my Solutionwear brand under a new name," she stated.
- Kim Kardashian West announced this week that she is launching a shapewear collection called Kimono Solutionwear, via her social media accounts.
- The undergarment collection is "coming soon" and will have products in sizes XXS to 4XL in nine shades, per the announcement. Kardashian West stated that she has been developing the products over the past year.
- The collection quickly drew backlash on social media, with many people stating that the brand name, Kimono, was appropriated from Japanese culture.
The lingerie market is ripe for more disruption.
This past year the largest player in the space, Victoria's Secret, has been in the midst of both a downward slide in sales and a branding identity crisis. This spring, Moody's Investors Service downgraded its parent company, L Brands, from "stable" to "negative," specifically citing "the deteriorating operating margins and negative comparable store sales at Victoria's Secret for the past 10 quarters."
While Victoria's Secret is the largest specialty retailer, Spanx has long dominated the shapewear segment of the industry. In 1998, Spanx founder Sara Blakely took scissors to her control top pantyhose and created what would become an early prototype of her shapewear. Blakely's products went into production in 2000, and shortly after Neiman Marcus put in a large order. Spanx has since become ubiquitous, with very few challengers to its domination of the market segment.
That is until Kardashian West made her announcement this week about her new product line. The celebrity's large following could push the collection to be a legitimate player in the lingerie market.
Finally I can share with you guys this project that I have been developing for the last year.— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) June 25, 2019
I’ve been passionate about this for 15 years.
Kimono is my take on shapewear and solutions for women that actually work.
Photos by Vanessa Beecroft pic.twitter.com/YAACrRltX3
In a story similar to Blakely's, Kardashian West said that she would cut up her shapewear products to make her own styles. She also stated the difficulty in finding proper undergarments that would blend with her skintone and wanted to make a product that would provide solutions.
However, the reveal of the product line's name, Kimono Solutionwear, proved to strike some members of her audience as a slight to the cultural history of Japanese clothing. The kimono, which dates back centuries ago, literally translates to: thing to wear.
This is "Kimono" I wear. Your underwear is very nice, but please do not register it as Kimono. Please do not monopolize our Japanese culture Kimono as your trademark. #kimono #KimOhNo pic.twitter.com/oWqRpI1IR5— マ 〽︎一葉乃舟なれや。 (@mr2k4tr) June 26, 2019
kimono is Japanese traditional clothes.— 永島綾乃 (@nagashimaayano) June 26, 2019
It is not underwear. PLS,Trademark registration in a separate word.