Shortly after Kardashian West, 39, announced the name of her new company in June 2019, fans criticized her use of the word “kimono,” a traditional Japanese clothing item. She swiftly took a step back and decided to change the name, despite already printing the label on millions of garments.
“My intention wasn’t ever to offend anybody. Foolishly and ignorantly, we never thought that it would be a problem,” the star said during Sunday night’s episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which documented the entire renaming process.
Receiving a letter from the mayor of Kyoto, Japan, Daisaku Kadokawa, helped Kardashian West realize that the situation had to be taken “really seriously.” She said: “He was very thoughtful and very kindly explaining to me the meaning of kimono and why that’s so important to their culture. Reading that letter, I felt an understanding. I definitely did not want to disrespect a culture.”
“That’s not what the brand is even about — it’s about inclusivity, it’s about comfort, it’s not about making people uncomfortable,” she continued.
While Kardashian West said it was “frustrating” that she and her team didn’t think about the implications of the brand name Kimono ahead of time, she knew it was a no-brainer to make the change. “I just feel kind of dumb. Like, why didn’t we think about this?” Kardashian West said. “It sucks that it’s so public and that everyone can see the mistakes of the brand as they’re live, but I’ve got to just calm down. Everything happens for a reason.”
Eventually, after brainstorming ideas with her family and business partners, Kardashian West decided on the name SKIMS. “I need a name that really does speak to me the way that Kimono did,” she said. “[SKIMS] is easy, it works, it flows. I just know that this is the right thing to do.”
One of the biggest setbacks Kardashian West faced after changing the name was figuring out how to save and repurpose the inventory, or else the company would “lose $10 million.”
“Because I wanted everything to be really seamless and feel really good, we printed everything inside all of the garments,” the reality star explained on her Instagram Story over the summer. “So now I have to come up with a solution and not be wasteful because we have printed almost two million garments so far with the Kimono name.”
By November, the star said the team “we tried and tested hundreds of different approaches to remove the old branding” before settling on the best solution.
“These are the original pieces we’re bringing back on November 20th, which will feature a super soft fabric SKIMS label! We’ll also be introducing 4 new Solutionwear styles based on your comments and requests since we launched that I can’t wait to show you,” she said on Instagram.