The name of Khloè Kardashian’s new denim line, Good American, has nothing to do with the election, which is three weeks from today, the brand’s launch day. That was just weird timing. It was so coincidental, in fact, that the line’s co-founders seemed surprised when asked whether the patriotically named venture had anything to do with choosing the U.S.’s next president.
“No, [October 18 is] when we’re ready,” Emma Grede, Kardashian’s business partner and C.E.O. of ITB, a company which facilitates collaborations between brands and the entertainment industry, told Vanity Fair recently in New York City.
“Just buy denim! It’s for the election!” Kardashian joked, dropping a brand-new marketing campaign on the spot.
The name, however, is intended to challenge conventional ideas of what a “good American” means, and they’re interested mostly in good American women. “America’s sweetheart is so passé,” Kardashian said. “I feel like being a good American is being badass and independent and confident.”
Grede, who’s British, expands on that idea, saying, “We were looking at it and going, Can you not be sexy and show off your body and yet still be ‘good’? The good American girl is not shy, she’s not someone who apologizes for herself, so it’s really a play on words.”
The jeans themselves are exactly what’s promised. They come in a wide variety of fits and washes, each of which range from size 0 to 24. The pants are designed to accentuate rounder bottoms at any size without gaping at the hips or waist, and Kardashian employs a number of women—diverse in body type and skin color—to model them. Though they staged a call for campaign models this summer, inviting women from across the U.S. to head to Los Angeles for casting, most of the chosen are names already recognized in niche audiences—Jordyn Woods, who is frequently seen on Kardashian’s half-sister Kylie Jenner’s Snapchat, for example, or Gabi Gregg, the designer and lifestyle blogger behind GabiFresh.
The jeans cost between $149 and $215, which might not be the most accessible pricing—or democratic if we’re staying with the patriotic theme—but is on par with the majority of premium denim brands. At Nordstrom, where Good American is sold, all sizes are grouped together on the sales floor, a detail that was important to Kardashian. “We don’t believe in plus-size,” she said. “We want a brand that stands together. We don’t want any segregation. We don’t want to say, Well, O.K., the petite girls—the zero to eight—is over here and the rest is over here.
“I used to be considered ‘the rest,’ and you get fat-shamed. You feel bad about yourself. I couldn’t go shopping with my sisters all the time because you’d just feel insecure,” she added.
The fact that Good American displays its line all together in Nordstrom seems like a radical act in comparison. It uses the Kardashian platform to carve out space on the sales floor of one of the U.S.’s leading department stores, taking all sizes to where America is shopping, rather than relegating the bigger ones at a plus-size store or a separate part of the department store.
Though Kardashian expressed her philosophy in the pants’ fit and how it’s merchandized, the lack of Khloé branding is striking. No “KhloMoney” (her alter ego) stitching or Kardashian label on the pocket. These aren’t the “Kylie’s Lip Kits” of pants. Anyone could have produced them, not just a member of America’s royal family. And that seems to be a point, if not the only one.
They are attached to a Kardashian, though, and thus they’ll be divined like tea leaves, the same way that anything the members of the clan do or say or make is. So a person with such a platform who names a brand “American” is almost attaching a lightning rod to it, attracting all the electric issues out there right now. A loaded term like “good American” plays on everything from Donald Trump’s contentious presidential slogan to Colin Kaepernick’s protest on the football field. What makes a “good American” is almost a little too prescient a question right now when you’re just trying to sell some great jeans.
Good American may not be determining anything as important as the leader of the free world, but it supports a worthy mission: trend-forward pants for women with bodies, a.k.a. all women. Kardashian isn’t promising to make America great again; she just wants to make America good from here on out. A diverse range of premium pants could be a fine place to start.