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Like them or not, KUWTK has been undeniably iconic

PART 2: The receipts don't lie, says Zoe Msutwana – the Kardashians changed reality TV, breathed life into strategic social media and brand collaborations, and launched empires
Thu, Sep 24, 2020
  • This is part two of Zoe Msutwana's two-part series exploring the Kardashians' rich history in contemporary pop culture. Read part one here.

Earlier this year, Bloomberg named Calabasas one of the richest neighbourhoods in the US, surpassing Beverly Hills.

The home of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which is currently streaming on Showmax, has become a place where the rich and famous can enjoy a more normal lifestyle, and a place many of us can only dream of visiting. The hidden gem became popularised because of the show, which has been filming in the exclusive suburb since its 2007 debut.

Calabasas has since become an iconic pop culture location, attracting residents like Drake, Selena Gomez, The Smiths and Justin Bieber.

While the premise of the show was about capturing the family's playfulness and their fashion businesses, critical conversations have been ignited by KUWTK, such as Caitlyn Jenner's transition, Lamar Odom's drug struggles and Rob's weight issues.

Their family vacations opened viewers' eyes to an array of new destinations to explore. From Bora Bora to the Dominican Republic, their annual family vacations really made travel something so desirable and inspiring that fans wanted to see themselves in those locations.

Brands and the Kardashians

What many may not know is that there are so many brands and trends that have either been born from or further popularised by KUWTK. From Urth Caffé to Nobu, to Balmain and Givenchy – we have watched the girls engage with so many brands that have become 'must haves' during their tenure on the show. The G-Wagon, Celine Sunglasses and the Givenchy Antigona are just some of the branding trends that were showcased by the famous family on their show.

The digital age kweens

The most viral Instagram moments of the decade include Kim's 'Break The Internet' cover for Paper magazine in November 2014; Kendall's record-breaking post of her hair in May 2015; and Stormi's debut on mom Kylie's Instagram, which, at the time, became the most-liked Instagram post ever. It is almost impossible to think of a group of people who have conquered every aspect of social media as much as the KarJenners have.

While the family may have gotten their initial fame through reality TV, it is worth noting that KUWTK has managed to stay relevant over the years through their online presence, until it was time for them to move on from the show. Interestingly enough, the very same online presence that may have kept the starlets and their show relevant for all these years is the very same reason the show's format lost relevance.

The Kardashian kash kweens

Kash Kweens they have been. They changed the landscape of what brand ambassadorship looks like – from mainstream celebrities fronting campaigns to reality TV stars becoming those faces. From Kim's partnership with Carl's Jr to Skechers and the girls' clothing line with Sears, they opened the door and the platform for reality TV stars to become more by moulding themselves into stars.

From being brand ambassadors to having and building their own brands such as KKW Beauty, Kylie Cosmetics to Skims, Good American and Poosh, the girls have taken the platform that E! gave them 14 years ago and built multi-million and even billion-dollar empires that will live on well beyond the show that gave them their very first opportunity into building empires.

The end of an era

Hearing that KUWTK will be coming to an end in early 2021 with their 20th season is a bittersweet moment.

While I fully understand why the show has to come to an end, I can't help feeling like I'm losing a huge part of my life. We have known and fallen in love with this family for 14 years. We have been a part of their biggest wins, failures, milestones, heartbreaks, breakthroughs, losses and additions.

The show has shaped and influenced many of our dreams, and I must admit the idea of it no longer existing is a bit unsettling. 14 Years, 20 seasons later, ICONIC is the only word to describe the Keeping Up with the Kardashians era.