But Macy's has stood by the billionaire, and the uproar has since died down. "Macy's marketing and merchandise offerings are not representative of any political position," says Jim Sluzewski, a spokesman for the chain.
Odd pairings can also be a concern. Indeed, Sears, a struggling retailer that is best known for selling appliances, raised eyebrows when it announced that it would carry clothes under the "Kardashian" name. The collection, which was launched last year, is named after "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" realty TV stars Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian.
The fashions embrace the individual looks of the sisters — Kim's glamorous style, Kourtney's Bohemian chic look and Khloe's rocker influence. There are $99 leopard print maxi dresses, $24 snakeskin print earrings and $40 metallic striped tops.
When thinking about Sears as a possible partner, Khloe says she at first thought of the retailer as a place just to buy "washers and dryers." But then, she says she and her sisters realized that Sears would enable them to achieve their goal of selling affordable clothes nationwide.
"We felt it was a good fit," she says. "It's like if you date a few people and then you want to marry that person."
Ron Boire, Sears' merchandising chief, declined to give sales figures, but says the line is doing well and gives the chain's clothing department a "younger, more progressive feel."
To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the collection, the Kardashian sisters showed up at a Sears store in the Bronx borough of New York City on a recent Friday. More than 2,000 shrieking teens and young women came to get a glimpse of them.
Among them was Jenessa Cavallo, 23, a legal assistant. Until the Kardashian line was launched, she had never shopped at Sears. Now, she says that she keeps going back, spending more than $500 on Kardashian designs, including a faux fox fur coat, leather jacket and nail polish.
"I feel like I'm Kim," Cavallo says.