Uh, do pigs fly now? Because I’m a li’l in shock over Generally Problematic Person™ Kim Kardashian’s latest move. After garnering a whole lot of very deserved backlash against the name of her shapewear line (if you didn’t know, it was “Kimono”), she’s announced that the line has been renamed—wait for it—Skims.
Crediting her fans and followers for providing feedback about a new brand name, she said, “I love the idea that the pieces will be the closest thing to someone’s skin, skimming with amazingly soft and supportive fabrics.”
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My fans and followers are a huge inspiration to me – I’m always listening to their feedback and opinions, and am so grateful they shared their ideas for a new brand name. After much thought and consideration, I’m excited to announce the launch of @SKIMS Solutionwear™ coming September 10. I love the idea that the pieces will be the closest thing to someone’s skin, skimming with amazingly soft and supportive fabrics which accentuate the best parts of our bodies. Available in sizes XXS – 5XL, SKIMS Solutionwear™ is for every body. SKIMS.COM. #ShowYourSKIMS Photo: #VanessaBeecroft
And can I just say, wow. That’s a surprisingly sick name, and it makes *so* much more sense than Kimono. But it’s even more surprising that Kim and her team actually listened to people for once, on more than one front.
Apart from the culturally appropriative name, people were initially unimpressed with the lack of body diversity in the original campaign pics. The new ones have better representation of different body types, and Kim and her Skims team also expanded the size range of the collection to go up to 5XL from the previous 4XL. All in all, a pretty decent job. And more brands should take note.
Usually, when criticism is levelled at big brands, the odds of them really listening to people and making necessary changes are poor. Just look at Gucci, which continued to sell its “Indy-style” turbans after facing backlash when it showed them on the runway. Then there’s Victoria’s Secret, which was accused of cultural appropriation countless times following its lingerie fashion shows, but continued to pull the same shit year after year.
Sure, changing the name and improving body diversity are by no means difficult feats—and Kim probably only made these improvements because of the sheer intensity of the backlash. Plus, it should be noted that she still hasn’t actually apologized for fucking up in the first place, and originally told the New York Times that while she has “deep respect for the significance of the kimono in Japanese culture,” she didn’t plan to change the name. But now that she has changed it, I’m actually a bit hopeful.
The Kardashians are constantly appropriating and profiting from Black culture, yet they rarely (if ever) address the backlash properly. Just one case in point: all the times Kim and her sisters have been called out for wearing Black hairstyles. Remember when Kim posted a pic wearing cornrows? She didn’t seem to take concerns about that seriously at all. So, maybe this is a sign of growth. Of course, there was probably a lot of money on the line with Skims, so Kim had a lot more to lose if she didn’t change the name in this case. So while I wouldn’t say I’m overly optimistic that she’ll continue to respond this well to critics in the future, this at least shows she’s capable of it.
The Skims name change and size diversification are a step in the right direction, and it’s a good example for other brands and celebs of how to respond to, and evolve with, fair criticism.
Phew, Kim K’s New Shapewear Brand Won’t Be Called “Kimono” After All
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