Kim Kardashian West has a lot on her plate. She’s the founder of KKW Beauty and Fragrances. She has a reality show, now in its 17th season. She’s in law school. She has four kids. And still, the projects keep coming. This week, Kardashian officially launched SKIMS, a line of shapewear—or, as she puts it, Solutionwear—that specializes in inclusivity of sizes and colorways, as well as innovative shapes (see: the one-legged brief). On a sweltering day in June, Kardashian had just flown in to New York to preview the new collection, herself a testament to the product in a clingy black dress—as if that was any surprise. After all, who can you trust about making sure your butt looks good if not Kim Kardashian West? Here, the multi-hyphenate talks about her new project, her body insecurities, and what’s to come.
How long have you been working on this project?
I feel like this has been like fifteen years in the making. Every time I would wear shapewear, I became obsessed, and I would be redesigning it. In my bag when I travelled, I would pack my shapewear and scissors. I’d always be cutting them up and figuring something out, like the one-legged solution short that we have, because I’d be wearing a dress with a slit and still needing that support everywhere else, but wanting my leg out.
But the actual product, we have been working on for about a year. We’ve been really focusing on fabrics. Something seamless was really important to me. Another problem that I had is I would put on something really tight over my shapewear and you’d see the seam going down the front—that kind of defeats the purpose when people know that you are wearing something. So, I really took my time. I knew what I wanted, because I knew what I had been wearing under dresses. I’d wear these catsuits underneath that would hold you in, so we have that launching, as well. It’s fun. All of my friends have been testing it and trying it and loving it.
When I feel like I have a solution to something, it makes me really excited. Like, having so many different shades, I hadn’t seen before. I wore a dress to the People’s Choice Awards recently, or maybe earlier this year? I don’t even know what month we’re in. Maybe last year. It was sheer and I wore shapewear shorts underneath. Usually if I had time, I would dye them in the sink with teabags myself, and if I needed it darker, I’d let it seep long to really get the color I wanted. I just didn’t have time because it was during the fires. If you look at pictures of me, I’m wearing this Gaultier dress, but you see my full shorts. I remember thinking, “My outfit would be so much better if I had my samples ready.” I would have had the right color and it would have been so perfect. It really did push me. I’ve only seen shapewear in a few colors—light nude, nude, and black—and so for me to have nine colors is so important.
When you gave it to your friends and family to try out, what was the feedback? Who was the harshest critic?
It was my assistant, who has never worn shapewear, because she says she has tried so many times. We have such different body types and we would try things on together because i wanted to see how it fit everyone’s bodies. For someone who has never worn shapewear before, because it was so uncomfortable, but for her to try it on and get it on, she was so happy and was like, “I could totally wear this.” And she’s not going to a red carpet event. Even in our bodysuits, I loved how the top part shapes your boob, so we had it made into a bra with no underwire. I wear that to bed because its not too restricting. I love seeing different people who have genuinely loved it.
Do you wear shapewear every day?
Not every day. I’ll wear the bra a lot now. But I do wear it a lot, because I have cellulite. If I wear sweats, sometimes I’d wear it. But other ones I’d wear flatten your hips and kind of smushes your butt, so then my butt would look really wide, or not my shape, and I would get so frustrated. I always do a sweatpants test and wear mine over, just to see if its the right shape. Under a tight dress, great, but I wanted to make sure it also fit under baggy clothes. I like to feel tight and secure, so maybe I’d wear the brief.
Were there any specific areas that you focused on that are an insecurity for you?
I think its just smoothing. We have three different tensions, so if you just need extra suck in, you can get that, or a little smoothing, you can get that. Lifting is really important—if you notice on the shorts, the back of the butt has a ruching. Companies I have seen that do that have an edging around to the point where the fabric becomes a two-ply fabric. The stitching is too tight, so when you put it on, it would leave a line as if you were wearing full-bottom underwear. I’d see pictures of myself in a skirt and be like, “Why does it look like I’m wearing granny panties?” This is not like that.
No granny panties in the collection.
No. These are so smooth that it does the lifting but doesn’t give you any spillage or lines,
Would you wear any of the pieces as your day-to-day clothes? What about the biker shorts?
Probably not, because it has sheerness in the butt. There is a mesh material that is coming out.
I saw it, and it’s really good.
No, it’s insane. My friend wore it to the BET Awards. She was having an emergency and I was like, “You have to wear this.” And I sent her the full-body and she was like, “I can’t believe that I didn’t have to line my outfit and you didn’t see anything.” I just posted a picture yesterday where I was wearing this green suit and I have a nude bodysuit underneath, and that’s from this collection. It’s just so comfy, and you don’t need a bra.
The one leg is pretty genius. What’s the craziest engineering you’ve had to do in the past?
So, I actually have this video and I’ve been debating posting it. No one was understanding what I was saying, like , “Why a one-legged?” They didn’t get it. To the factories I was like, “Look, you guys, I have a slit up to here and I need it all still sucked in.” One time I was wearing a thong in this neon dress and when I walked, you saw it. I need one part sucked in even if one leg is out. So I was always cutting it, and then it would roll up, so I’d tape it down, and it just wasn’t working. If you look at all my shapewear at home from all different companies and brands, you see all the cuts. It looks so insane, But that’s what I would do. But I was getting ready with Kylie one time and she had the same thing. I was like, “Wait, you do the same thing? Okay, it’s a thing.” I told her we were developing it, and she was so excited,
Are you planning to expand the collection even further?
Yeah. Our next drop, I’m so excited, we’re just going to have really good basics, like bras and underwear. It’s materials that I’ve never done before.
At this point, do you think about launching a full ready-to-wear collection?
I don’t know. I think sometimes when you launch something, everyone is like, “What’s next?” I’m like, “I have three years of law school left.” I want to focus on exactly what I know about. It’s not about me putting something out just to put something out. I’m super focused on beauty and fragrance and this. I just don’t have time for anything else. I just love this, and I want to perfect it.