The collection has been accused of cultural appropriation
A Japanese mayor has issued a statement urging Kim Kardashian West to “reconsider” her new shapewear line, which is controversially named 'Kimono'.
The reality star reportedly tried to trademark the name ‘Kimono Intimates’ last year, sparking a cultural appropriation row, with people accusing her of being insensitive to Japanese history and tradition.
Now, Kyoto mayor Daisaku Kadokawa has written an open letter to Kardashian West, saying the the kimono is "a fruit of craftsmanship and truly symbolises sense of beauty, spirits and values of Japanese."
Kadokawa goes on to say that kimono is a popular garment on the streets of Kyoto worn by tourists and locals alike, proving that it is “loved by people from around the world” and “should not be monopolised”.
The letter, which was published on the city of Kyoto’s official website, closes by inviting Kardashian West to visit Kyoto, saying that it is “where many Japanese cultures including kimono have been cherished, to experience the essence of Kimono Culture and understand our thoughts”.
Kardashian West has not responded to the letter, but addressed the controversy in a statement released by The New York Times on Thursday 27 June, saying the name was an intentional “nod to the beauty and detail” that goes into making a traditional kimono.
She went on to say that she has “deep respect for the significance of the kimono in Japanese culture” and has no plans “to design or release any garments that would in any way resemble or dishonour the traditional garment”.
However she also confirmed she did not intend to change the name of the brand in light of the backlash.
The collection of nude-coloured underwear was announced on Tuesday 25 June and faced immediate criticism across social media for its name.
This followed the release of her body make-up line earlier this month, which also sparked debate around whether she was promoting unrealistic standards of beauty.
Kardashian West has previously been accused of cultural appropriation, most recently in April when she attended husband Kanye West’s “Sunday service” performance at Coachella wearing what several people identified as maang tikka, a traditional Indian head ornament, which many found offensive.