Kim Kardashian West is not new to controversy, and now she seems to have landed herself in yet another one. A few days ago, she launched a line of face masks that triggered a furore about race. The masks — launched under her shapewear label, Skims — seem to have upset people who called out the celebrity over her “casual racism”.
What really happened?
Just like many fashion brands, Kim K’s Skims, too, seems keen on cashing in amid the ongoing pandemic. The brand launched a line of non-medical seamless masks in five skin tones. As was expected, the masks sold out in just 30 minutes, or so.
you’d think this family would know shades of black skin tones considering their kids are black too and you’d think by now they would know that this is not a black nude tone but go off kimberly with your profiteering on casual racism…… https://t.co/4aX2IfZaFQ
— 𝒸𝒽𝒶𝓁𝓊𝓀𝓎𝒶 (@balenciogre) May 17, 2020
But one Twitter user pointed out that the masks did not have the right shade for the black model. “you’d think this family would know shades of black skin tones considering their kids are black too and you’d think by now they would know that this is not a black nude tone but go off kimberly with your profiteering on casual racism……(sic),” they wrote on Twitter.
It is believed that while the site has replaced the model wearing the black mask, it continues to appear in its ‘accessories’ section. According to The Guardian, the masks cost $8 each, and are available in colours named ‘sand’, ‘clay’, ‘sienna’, ‘cocoa’ and ‘onyx’. In fact, the website even cautions that the masks are non-medical, and “not a respirator and will not eliminate the risk of contracting disease or infection”, and that wearing them would be both a precaution and a fashion statement.
As mentioned earlier, this is not the first time that Kim Kardashian West has stirred a controversy that has a racial undertone. Last year, just before the launch of Skims, she was accused of cultural appropriation when she announced the brand name ‘Kimono Solutionwear’. She faced a lot of backlash and Yuka Ohishi, a Japanese woman told the BBC, “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. [This] shapewear doesn’t even resemble a kimono – she just chose a word that has Kim in it – there’s no respect to what the garment actually means in our culture.”
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™ pic.twitter.com/3bV5MwblDr
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) August 26, 2019
Later, she decided to change the name of the line, and it then came to be known as SKIMS.
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