"I feel like I've been designing shapewear for 15 years," Kim Kardashian tells PEOPLE
Kim Kardashian West is very open about her long love affair with shapewear. While she’s always embraced her signature curves, Kardashian West, 38, has never been ashamed to admit that she gets by with a little help from shapewear to enhance her famous figure — a body that has become so iconic to pop culture that she immortalized it with a perfume bottle designed after a bust of her naked chest and torso.
But still, the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star admits she was never completely satisfied with the spandex pieces she wore to smooth and slim her physique.
“I use shapewear as a solution to my styling needs. I always wanted something that would smooth, and sometimes not necessarily change my shape,” Kardashian West tells PEOPLE. “When I wear sheer garments, I used my shapewear to line things like jumpsuits and gowns.”
More often than not, Kardashian West found herself cutting apart, dyeing (with tea bags!) and customizing her shapewear to fit her needs. “When I would wear a gown or skirt with a slit, I would cut one leg off, but it would roll up. I still needed support everywhere else, and I never felt like I was getting that,” she explains.
And then it clicked. The business mogul realized it was time to create a solution-focused shapewear brand, SKIMS Solutionwear, herself.
“I would create my own shapewear all the time to be my solutions for things. I feel like I’ve been designing shapewear for 15 years,” Kardashian West says. “I’m so proud of the line. I’m so proud of the fabric. I made things that haven’t really been made before,” she adds, pointing out the one-leg bike short.
Like any type of shapewear, Kardashian West wanted the pieces to accentuate women’s bodies. But unlike other designs, comfort was key when preparing for the SKIMS launch. “I’ve noticed a lot of people don’t wear shapewear because they’ve felt too claustrophobic or restricted in it, but those people love SKIMS,” she says. “This is something that people feel very comfortable in.
SKIMS consists of bikini briefs, thongs, bras, waist trainers, bodysuits, thermal leggings and more, retailing from $18 to $98. They are sold in sizes XXS to 5XL, three tensions depending on the support you want and in nine different tonal colors at launch, with even more shades coming as the brand continues to expand.
“I used to have to dye my shapewear with tea bags in the sink to get the right shade of nude that would blend into my skin,” Kardashian West says. “I’d blow dry it, then if it needed to make it a shade darker, I’d put more tea bags in again. I’ve only seen two colors — one standard nude and one black.”
Kardashian West has been especially pleased by her close friends’ reactions to the SKIMS garments. “My best friend La La [Anthony] had to go to the BET Awards. She was sending me pictures of outfits, but was like, ‘I can’t really wear the jumpsuit because I have to get it lined.’ I sent me her samples because that’s how I would line things,” the star says.
She continues: “She literally took videos of herself running around in it being like, ‘This holds me in so well!’ That made me feel really good.'”
Of course, Kardashian West made sure the designs got her famous family’s stamp-of-approval, too.
“I did definitely use them [as a sounding board],” she says. “They all genuinely love the product so much. It made me feel really proud that I found something that every family member, being a different shape and size, can really get behind it.”