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Thursday 11th of August 2022

Nairobi, Kenya

Mitumba Clothes Ban May Crimp Kenyan Style, It May Also Lift Local Designers.

Kenya has halted imports of secondhand clothes to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The move limits fashion selection, but opens doors for the country’s designers and manufacturers.

Catherine Muringo with some of the bales of mitumba, or secondhand clothes, that she buys and sells. She said the import ban threatens her business.Credit…Khadija Farah for The New York Times

Catherine Muringo’s wardrobe consists of secondhand outfits shipped from all over the world: colorful blouses and jeans from Canada, floral dresses from the United States, trench coats from Australia and leather handbags from the United Kingdom.
For years, Ms. Muringo bought the used clothes and accessories at cheap prices in open-air markets in Nairobi and used them to fashion her own idiosyncratic style.

Seven years ago, she also started a business buying and selling such items, distributing castoff fur coats, hoodies and shoes to customers in Kenya and in foreign markets like Botswana, Uganda and Tanzania.
But in late March, the Kenyan government banned the importation of used garments in what it said was a precautionary measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Even though used clothes are fumigated before being shipped, Kenyan authorities said they were taking precautions because of the spike in infections in countries like the United States.

Now, businesses like hers are threatened, as well as the sartorial choices of millions of Kenyans who depend on low-cost imports to stay stylish.
“Kenyans love to go to the secondhand markets and spend hours looking and searching,” Ms. Muringo said. “Kenyans love the diversity of secondhand.”

Officials also said the banning of imported clothing  known as mitumba, the Swahili word for “bundles” could have an unexpected benefit. It could help Kenya revive its own textile industry, which was wiped out in the late 1980s as the country started opening its markets to foreign competition.

“I think corona has shown not just for Kenya but for many countries to look inward a lot and try and fill some of the market gaps,” said Phyllis Wakiaga, the chief executive of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers. “The reality is that there’s a big opportunity for us to produce local clothes for the citizens.”

Shops in Toi Market, one of Nairobi’s most popular stops for secondhand goods, have been hurt by the coronavirus and the import ban.Credit…Khadija Farah for The New York Times

For years, Kenya, along with other countries in East Africa, had tried to phase out used clothing to boost local manufacturing. But the countries faced the threat of being removed from the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, which promotes trade by providing reduced or duty-free access to the American market. Many countries backed off from instituting a ban on imported clothing, with the exception of Rwanda.

The coronavirus gave Kenya a chance to promote its own clothing manufacturing, but thwarted a lively trade.
In Nairobi, the combination of the import ban, plus lockdown measures and an overnight curfew introduced to stamp out the virus, have drastically lessened the hive of activity at the popular Gikomba and Toi thrift markets, mazes of narrow pathways packed with bellowing vendors and piles of clothes, shoes and household goods.

As the largest importer of used clothing in East Africa, Kenya, with its new ban, is expected to upend not just supply chains but also lead to a hemorrhage in jobs connected to the trade and the loss of millions of dollars from government coffers as tax revenue and import duties fall.

But where some see problems, others see opportunity.
Wagura Kamwana, the proprietor of a fabric shop, the Textile Loft, is seeking to capitalize on this moment.
Ms. Kamwana, 40, grew up wearing hand-stitched clothes from her mother, and later on, sought trendy outfits at secondhand markets. Kenyans like used clothes, she said, both for their affordability and because of the their high-quality fabrics.

In 2016, she opened her store, offering premium quality fabrics, sourced from Europe, to Kenyans who wanted to create high-end fashion locally.

In 2018, she started also offering production services to designers looking to develop smaller lines who were being turned away by factories only interested in bulk orders.

Wagura Kamwana, founder of the Textile Loft, looks over a finished garment.Credit…Khadija Farah for The New York Times

Ms. Kamwana has already worked with prominent local designers like Katungulu Mwendwa.
The pandemic has also offered the chance to start her own clothing line. Her new label is set to produce everyday clothing for women including dresses, scarves and trousers ranging from $25 to $150.

Ms. Kamwana said designers and manufacturers should collaborate and take baby steps to push the industry toward maturity.
“This whole value chain will take quite a few years to be feasible or to be seen,” she said, adding, “what we can do immediately is perfect our art of making.”

Rolls of fabric at the Textile Loft.Credit…Khadija Farah for The New York Times

Other Kenyan companies are also responding to the challenges posed by the pandemic by focusing locally.

Frederick Bittiner Wear, which does fabric selection, design and tailoring for retailers in East Africa, Europe and the United States, has seen a reduction in orders because of the pandemic, so it has turned to producing leggings, T-shirts and vests for the local market, said Dominic Agesa, the managing director.

After approaching distributors with samples, Mr. Agesa said he got 50 orders in a week.
For too long, “Kenya has been reluctant” to incentivize local manufacturers, he said, but the import ban was one step toward making conditions more favorable for a local scene to eventually flourish.

“Are we able to satisfy the Kenyan market and beyond? Mr. Agesa said. “Gradually, the answer is yes.”

Suave Kenya is a brand that transforms secondhand clothes ranging from silk shirts to leather jackets into stylish and colorful tote bags, backpacks and wallets. With the import ban, its founder, Mohamed Awale, is looking into sourcing from local tanneries and textile factories.

“If the pandemic persists, we will have to adapt while still producing the type of bright bags that make us unique,” said Mr. Awale, 32. “When we source locally, we create jobs and make our industries grow.”

The Suave Kenya workshop, where backpacks, bags and accessories are produced from up-cycled materials and locally sourced fabrics.Credit…Khadija Farah for The New York Times

Nowhere is the shift to adapt to the changes brought on by the pandemic more visible than in the special export zones on Nairobi’s outskirts. Established in 1990, these zones offer companies less regulations plus tax incentives to promote export-oriented businesses.

But with borders closed and exports plunging, some of the clothing factories have begun servicing the Kenyan market, with the country temporarily allowing manufacturers to exceed the usual limit of supplying no more than 20 percent of their annual production to local markets.

Shona EPZ has 500 employees and makes reflective work clothes for companies like 3M and apparel for department stores like T.J. Maxx. But since the pandemic began, the firm has pivoted toward making personal protective equipment for Kenya, producing tens of thousands of masks and surgical gowns per day, said its director, Isaac Maluki.

Mr. Maluki said he has also partnered with secondhand importers and small-scale manufacturers, that, with the ban on used clothing, are increasingly considering collaborating with larger companies like his to make clothes for local consumption.

“We want to really encourage them to see the kind of quality that comes out of here that can be shared into the local market,” he said. “The local market is huge.”

Workers at Shona EPZ have shifted from manufacturing apparel for export to producing personal protective equipment for Kenya.Credit…Khadija Farah for The New York Times

But before a robust clothing sector takes hold, experts say local manufacturers will have to overcome a host of challenges, including inadequate access to finance, the high cost of electricity, and the lack of raw materials, including cotton.

The fact that powerful lobby groups for the secondhand clothing industry in the United States have already criticized Kenya’s move doesn’t bode well either, said Emily Anne Wolff, a researcher at Leiden University in the Netherlands who has studied plans to phase out used clothing in East Africa.

Kenya is aiming to be the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to negotiate a free-trade agreement with the United States, which could undermine Kenya’s will to retain the clothing ban.

Used clothes traders have appealed to the government in recent days to lift the ban, saying there is no public health risk associated with the trade. But officials have so far ruled that option out.

For now, Kenyan designers and manufacturers say the ban gives them a window of opportunity to start shaping the future of fashion in Kenya.

“Now is a good time to make choices and changes,” said Ms. Kamwana, the owner of Textile Loft. “You will be surprised by what comes out of this country.”

Credit
Story By Abdi Latif Dahir
Photo By Khadija Farah

This article originally appeared on New York Times 

Ghana Becomes the first Country to Launch Covid-19 Inspired Fashion Print Designs

Some of the designs have padlocks to symbolise lockdown measures

A Ghanaian fabric company has launched a new line of designs inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic. “[We] put a positive twist on a negative phenomenon” Stephen Badu, from Ghana Textiles Printing (GTP), told BBC Focus on Africa radio.

The new fabrics have symbols like padlocks, keys and planes to reflect some of the measures implemented to curb the spread of coronavirus, African prints are popular in Ghana and many workers wear them on Fridays.

Two of Ghana’s main metropolitan areas were in lockdown in April – and nationwide there was a ban on public gatherings and the closure of borders.
Restrictions have since been eased though strict social-distancing measures are in place, especially in churches and it is a criminal offence not to wear a face mask in public.

The West African nation has reported more than 20,000 cases of Covid-19, with at least 129 people dying from the virus. “We are a business that tells stories and we tells our stories through our designs,” Mr Badu, GTP’s marketing director, said.

The capital, Accra, and the city of Kumasi were put into lockdown for three weeks

“We believe that it is going to leave a mark in the history of the world, and it’s important that generations that come after us get to know that once upon a time, such a phenomenon occurred.”

Some of the new GTP designs have glasses on them similar to the signature ones worn by Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, who has been giving regular updates on the virus.

The round spectacles look like those worn by the president

“He has iconic spectacles that he wears and when you watch him on television that is what stands out,” Mr Badu said. “Another design shows a symbol of a plane, it indicates that during the lockdown one of the measures that Ghana took was to close the borders, so no flights,” he added.

Flights were stopped during the lockdown

In 2004, the government started a campaign to get people to wear national dress on Fridays to support the local textile industry, yet a lot of the fabric worn is not made by African firms.

The designs were created by Ghanaians

Ghana Textiles Printing, despite its name, is owned by Dutch company Vlisco, But Mr Badu said the new designs were all about Ghanaians telling their own history.

“The designs which we print now are all originated by Ghanaians and printed by Ghanaians, so behind every design we produce it’s our value systems, our sense of art, and how we communicate,” he said.

This article originally appeared on BBC

 

Halima Aden and Anywear Team Up to Create Masks for Hijabi Frontline Workers 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, shortages of masks and PPE gear have posed a problem, particularly within the United States. Thanks to generous donations from private organizations and designers making efforts to produce additional supplies, the situation has improved. Still, even when frontline workers have access to the right gear, issues can arise.

Created for short-term use rather than 24/7 wear, traditional masks can quickly become uncomfortable. In fact many hospital workers have reported scarring and irritation due to the restrictive ear straps. For hijabi doctors and nurses the situation is further complicated with standard-issue masks that don’t account for headscarves and facial coverings.

With its debut collection, Anywear attempts to address those issues. Dubbed “Banding Together,” the capsule of specially designed face coverings serve as an extra protective barrier and shield for reusable masks like the N95. Fashion heavyweights such as hairstylist Chris McMillan and makeup artist Daniel Martin were among Anywear’s first collaborators. Now model Halima Aden has come on board with a range of hijab and turban sets.

Many brands have pivoted to mask making, but few have addressed the needs of frontline workers from all faiths. Aden’s custom hijabs add something new to the equation and the market precisely what Anywear’s cofounders Emily Shippee and Adi-Lee Cohen had in mind. Inspired by the needs of real frontline workers, who Shippee interviewed as part of a story for Allure , the project expanded into an ongoing collaboration curated by the magazine’s editors.

“When I started speaking to Adi about inclusivity and the designs, we wanted to make sure we included women who need to cover their hair and do so comfortably,” explained Shippee via email. “Of course, nobody was better for that than Halima because she used to clean hospital rooms when she first started working and had valuable, firsthand experiences.”

Content courtesy of Vogue

Fashionomics Africa’s Debut Webinar Series Discusses Opportunities and Threats for The African Fashion Industry

The African Development Bank’s Fashionomics Africa initiative on Tuesday launched its first webinar series to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry. In total, 136 fashion entrepreneurs, digital innovators and creative minds joined the discussion. The theme of the first episode of the series was: “What does the COVID-19 disruption mean for Africa’s Fashion Market? Opportunities and Threats for Fashionpreneurs and Investors.”

Supporting investment for the micro, small and medium enterprises in the creative and cultural industries, creating the right environment for the financial sector to play its full part in powering growth, lies at the heart of the African Development Bank’s agenda,” said Vanessa Moungar, Director of the Gender, Women and Civil Society Department at the African Development Bank.

The participants exchanged ideas and shared lessons learned on how to take advantage of online tools to strengthen businesses. Panelists included representatives from supply chain giant Maersk, the HEVA Fund for financing creative industries, the founder of made-in-Africa online brand Tongoro, and Afrikrea – an African e-commerce platform specializing in fashion and crafts.

“African fashion is rising right now. African designers need to develop their unique business model and have to be innovative. To do so, digital is key,” said Sarah Diouf, founder of Tongoro. “It’s a tool that we can truly leverage to our advantage. Africa has many stories to share and tell.”

Wakiuru Njuguna, Investment Manager and Partner at the HEVA Fund, said sustainability was going to be key to the future of fashion. “Going forward, sustainable fashion is going to be the way to go. The African fashion brands need to be ready to answer the questions they will be asked,” she said.

Subsequent Fashionomics Africa webinars will be available on the Fashionomics Africa Digital Marketplace and Mobile App (available both on IOS and Android). The platform aims to help Africa’s fashion designers, textile and accessories professionals connect with regional and global markets. Sign up on Fashionomics Africa here. Registration is free.

Fashionomics Africa leverages data and communication technologies to help entrepreneurs access business skills, finance and other tools.

Content courtesy of The African Development Bank & Fashionomics Africa

How the Columbia Student Services Corps Has Pivoted Its Efforts to Help Get PPE to Protestors to Prevent Spread of Covid-19 

Protestors in Foley Square in the Manhattan Borough of New York on June 02, 2020, USA. Photo: Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

In February, a group of students at Columbia University Irving Medical Center wanted to combine their various avenues of study in order to help stop the spread of Covid-19. So, they quickly mobilized student leaders throughout various disciplines the dental school, the nursing school, the public health school, and the psychology school⁠ and they launched the Covid-19 Student Services Corps or CSSC.

The idea was to create a wide-ranging and multi-tiered service-learning model that would help with various issues that arose just after the pandemic landed in the U.S. These initiatives include mental health programs, a community food delivery arm called Hero Meals, as well as telemedicine. Students were and still are encouraged to submit their own proposals for new initiatives where they see more needs have arisen.

In addition, the CSSC created a program called Mask Check, which helped provide much-needed PPE to local shelters and jails in the New York area. Shayna Feuer, who is currently getting her masters degree in nursing, is helping to head up this arm of the CSSC. Through virtual sewing groups, Feuer and her team of around 14 students distribute the donated masks themselves, mainly to shelters and prisons in and around the Washington Heights area, where Columbia is located.

They also lead virtual sewing classes so that Columbia students can help make masks, in addition to the donated masks they receive. And while they were most recently focused on sewing masks that were permissible by the jails (there are strict rules about fabric, elastic ties, and colors for inmate masks), Feuer and the Mask Check team have since shifted focus.

On Monday, they focused their efforts on supporting the protestors advocating for systemic change in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by four Minneapolis police officers. “As allies and public health workers, we want to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and contribute to safe protesting,” Feuer says, adding:

“Mask Check has fully shifted our focus to collecting and donating PPE to the protestors.” Feuer says that she and her team realized there was a huge need for PPE for protestors in New York, as Covid-19 is still a very present and real threat especially in the black community, which it has affected disproportionately.

“Members of our team have attended protests nearly every day this week,” Feuer says. “We also thought that it was time for us to further step up and show Columbia’s dedication not only to this city but to the nation and the world.”

Photo: Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

Content courtesy of Vogue 

African Fashion Designers take on COVID-19 in style

Turning face masks into a fashion statement in Africa, the face mask has become a global symbol in the fight against COVID-19. But for fashion designers in Africa, the masks are more than just a protective piece of cloth. Here are some of the best styles from the continent.

Who says face masks have to be bland?

In Africa, fashion designers are injecting some style into masks to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic encouraging mask use while letting people show some individuality.

Here are some face mask collection from Africa fashion designer:

 

Lagos has more than twice the population of New York City and a robust fashion scene, where designers have long harnessed style as a tool for communication.

The city’s runways have promoted recycling, gender equality and traditional African artistry themes meant to nourish the greater good, said Omoyemi Akerele, founder of Lagos Fashion Week. Some fashion houses are consulting doctors, she said, and sourcing fabric for mask production. (The community has also donated soap to garment workers.)

“Fashion is a voice for change,” she said. “It can save lives.”

Many in Nigeria and the United States  haven’t grasped the severity of the coronavirus threat. Warnings from celebrities can help. (The U.S. surgeon general urged Kylie Jenner, for instance, to inform her 167 million Instagram followers about the importance of social distancing.)

Content courtesy of DW & Washington post

North Devon fashion brand is helping to fight Coronavirus in African countries

A not-for-profit fashion brand based in North Devon has donated more than £3,500 to help the fight against coronavirus in African countries.

Origin, founded by Alice and Tom Cracknell from Woolacombe, is helping African communities fight the spread of Covid-19 with its Every Single Penny campaign.

Origin has always donated 100 per cent of its profits to humanitarian projects in Gambia, Ethiopia, Mali and more recently, Togo.

But in response to the global pandemic the husband-and-wife-team have upped their donations to include 100 per cent of all revenue from every garment sold.

The money will be donated in the form of cash grants to enable projects in each country to purchase PPE locally, provide improved sanitation and help educate communities.

Origin has already donated £3,500 and counting since the beginning of April.

Alice said: “While the UK continues its lockdown, the pandemic is only touching the surface in Africa and it is a sad fact that with less resources the repercussions there will be much greater than those we face here.

“We felt it was extremely important, now more than ever, to continue in our support of communities in developing countries which is why we’ve launched Every Single Penny.

Origin has donated all revenue from every garment sold during April. Find out more at originafrica.co.uk or @origin_africa on Instagram.

Content courtesy of Origin Africa 

The Fight Against Covid-19 Kenya Fashion Council Community Spirit

In an effort to further curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Kenyan government has directed all citizens to wear masks when in public spaces.

On March 30th, Kenya Fashion Council put out an appeal on social media, requesting designers and fashion industry members to share information on their capacity to produce face masks and PPEs.

 

Within 24 hours, the Kenya Fashion Council had received more than 800 emails from individuals and businesses. By the following day, there were 1,520 emails in total. KFCO also went ahead and created a manual for public use on the creation of a reusable cloth face mask. The same was shared with designers and tailors, enabling them to continue with a form of production and income generation in a time of crisis.

Kenya Fashion Council is working with all the relevant stakeholders to not only provide safe masks for the population but income generation strategies for its designers and tailors whose businesses have been hit hard during this pandemic.

Sterilization Centre – The Safe Masks For All Initiative
Kenya Fashion Council has created an opportunity for its members to produce safe masks for the public by partnering with a sterilization centre. This partnership allows members to drop their cloth face masks at the centre where quality check is performed before sterilization, packaging and labeling.

The already tested, state of the art sterilization centre is well equipped and has the capacity 10 sterilize 4,800 face masks per day.

A customer in receipt of the KE-2 mask can rest assured that it is safe for use and free from contaminants. Designers who would like to use the sterilization centre should have the capacity to deliver a minimum of 120 labeled masks. The quality assurance step ensures that only quality masks are accepted for this process, upholding excellence in production.

The masks produced illustrate the KFCO spirit of innovation and excellence as every mask is individually sterilized, packaged and labeled. KFCO has partnered with Brand Kenya and these high quality, safe, reusable cloth face masks are proof that as Kenyans, we are more than capable of impacting, innovating and producing quality goods! We have the answer to our problems and creative strategies are within.

Get Your Ke-2 Face Mask Delivered To You!
The Kenya Fashion Council team has been working day and night to not only coordinate production efforts of face masks but also seek distribution channels to ease accessibility of the same. Kenyans can now conveniently place an order online via JUMIA Kenya and receive the high quality KE-2 masks at their doorstep.

The council has negotiated rates for its members with JUMIA Kenya , which means Kenya Fashion Council Members can now set up shop and sell their masks online,  automatically increasing their customer reach. KFCO is working towards multiple distribution channels to ensure Kenyans have access to quality reusable cloth face masks.

Kenya fashion council mask available here on Jumia link

Are You A Member?
Due to the current global situation as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Kenya Fashion Council has extended its introductory offer on 90% off membership till 31st May 7020! Membership registration starts from as little as KES 2,500. As a member you can access the great rates KFCO has negotiated with JUMIA Kenya and reach your customers online with just a few steps!

SIGN UP TODAY
Website:  kenyafashioncouncil.co.ke to access discounted membership and join the family! Begin your journey to your online store!

Join The Fight
Kenya Fashion Council is committed to reach every comer of society and provide safe masks to all Kenyans. We have partnered with NYS to enable mass face mask production. NYS engaged a total of 53 tailors from Jericho, Ngara, Taveta court, Kibra and Nairobi Textile.

The work commenced on 28th of April and as at 4th of May 16, 122 masks had been produced. We are looking into further developing patterns for other PPEs as well. The community spirit has been strong and a good example of this is David Juma, pictured below.

Mr Juma received support from the Kenya Fashion Council family who donated cloth and elastic materials totaling 30 meters. Mr Juma also received the KFCO manual which has guidelines on face mask creation and uses this to train others.

Get in touch if you would like to join us in our community efforts! Lets join hands and fight this pandemic together. We are stronger together.

Content courtesy of Kenya Fashion Council

It’s official, there will be no Met Gala this year 2020

It’s now official: There will be no Met gala in 2020. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has been closed since mid March, announced today that the Met gala, often called the party of the year, has been canceled for 2020.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the museum said that the gala had been canceled “due to the global health crisis.

In a statement to Vogue, the Met said fashion’s big night has officially been called off “due to the global health crisis.” The Met Gala typically happens on the first Monday in May.

The Met gala, typically held on the first Monday in May, is both the most star-studded social event of the spring and a critical fundraiser for the Costume Institute, acting as the main source of annual funding for exhibitions, publications, acquisitions, and capital improvements. Last year, the gala for the exhibition “Camp: Notes on Fashion” raised a reported $15 million.

This year’s exhibition at the Costume Institute, “About Time: Fashion and Duration,” will trace a century and a half of fashion from 1870 to the present on the occasion of the Met’s 150th anniversary. It is scheduled to open on October 29 and run through February 7, 2021. The majority of objects in the show will be drawn from the Costume Institute’s collection, including major gifts from designers as part of the Met’s 2020 Collections Initiative.

In addition to today’s announcement about the Met gala, the museum updated its status on its planned reopening, saying it would now take place in mid August “or perhaps a few weeks later.”

Daniel H. Weiss, president of the museum, said: “The Met has endured much in its 150 years and today continues as a beacon of hope for the future.

This museum is also a profound reminder of the strength of the human spirit and the power of art to offer comfort, inspiration, and community. As we endure these challenging and uncertain times, we are encouraged by looking forward to the day when we can once again welcome all to enjoy the Met’s collection and exhibitions.”

The days and hours that the Met will be open to the public will likely be reduced at first. And to maintain social distancing requirements, the museum will not have tours, talks, concerts, or events through calendar year 2020. The museum said it expects to resume these activities in 2021, “including a belated celebration of its 150th anniversary.”

Content courtesy of Vogue

Kim Kardashian Slammed for Describing Black Face Mask on African-American Woman as ‘Nude

The reality star promoted her new line of face masks on Twitter, describing them as coming in “5 shades of Nudes,” but one of those five colors is solid black, described as “onyx” on the SKIMS website.

Kim Kardashian may have been trying to be fashion-forward with her new line of face masks, but many see the reality star as taking at least two steps backward in describing a solid black face mask on an African-American model as “nude.”

The masks do indeed come in five different shades, with four of them arguably coming close to various skin tones (described on her website as sand, clay, sienna and cocoa). But the last one, described as onyx on the website, certainly appears to be solid black.

This would be fine if she had described them as face masks in various shades or colors, as she did elsewhere, but it was her choice of the word “nude” in this particular tweet — and the fact that she chose a black model to highlight the “onyx” mask — that raised eyebrows and outrage online.

On her website, there is a white model wearing the “onyx” mask, and on Instagram she described the masks plainly as coming in “5 colors.” It was when she shifted to Twitter that she caught ire for a post that is still up after two days.

She followed that tweet with another promoting the masks, using more generic terms, and then another touting that they had sold out already and are being produced as quickly as possible to get them back in stock (they are still out of stock as of this writing).

She has since moved on to promoting her “summer mesh” line, which also comes in “onyx” shade. But this time, Kim is modeling the pieces herself and there is no mention of nude.

It’s certainly possible that the whole thing was a simple mistake on Kim’s part, who didn’t fully realize what she was saying with that word, but many online see it as an example of “casual racism,” and one that Kim should know better about considering her husband and children are black.

Is she even aware of the outcry? The “nude” term was used on her personal Twitter feed to promote the SKIMS line, and that tweet was retweeted by the official SKIMS account.

Both tweets are still active and both are filled with comments about how offensive they are. None of the comments have been responded to in any official capacity. TooFab has reached out to representatives for Kim Kardashian for comment.

This isn’t Kim’s first time courting controversy for perceived racism with her SKIMS line. The line’s very name was originally envisioned as Kimono, before calls of cultural insensitivity and appropriation saw the reality star shift to the SKIMS name.

Controversies aside, the new line of face masks reportedly sold out in less than 30 minutes. At the same time, Kim announced that her company was donating 10,000 of their masks to four different charities: Baby2Baby, Good+ Foundation, Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, and National Domestic Workers Alliance.

This article originally appeared on Toofab 

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