What comes to mind when you think of Kat Von D is makeup mogul, tattoo legend, television personality, entrepreneur, and the list goes on. As a matter of fact, Von D has come a long way from being that young punk-rock girl listening to the Misfits in her bedroom. The tattoo artist was first introduced to the public on the TLC reality series Miami Ink, and then later acquired her own show for the same network, LA Ink. Shortly after her stint on television, Von D teamed up with beauty store chain Sephora in 2008 and launched her namesake cosmetics brand. “People always ask how I transitioned from tattooing to makeup, but the truth is, I never transitioned. I just want to do a lot of different things, and I don’t think we should be limited to one medium,” she says.
Over 10 years later, the business woman and her brand are thriving and exploring new and exciting ventures. Recently, on November 1 (also known as World Vegan Day), Von D launched her newest endeavor – a vegan shoe line – Von D Shoes. “Any project I’m involved with, I’m in it 110%. When it comes to the shoes, I didn’t partner with anybody. These [shoes] are hand-drawn designs that I came up with, and I created this vision of shoes that I personally would want to wear and other people might like too,” shares Von D, who is not only very hands-on with the logos and designs of her new footwear and makeup lines, but is also heavily involved with the production and packaging – even down to the tissue paper that goes into each package.
2 years in the making, Von D Shoes are completely vegan, a decision that was made to align with Von D’s commitment to veganism and support for animal rights. “When I first became vegan, it was really just about a diet. As time went on, I learned so many different ways that we exploit animals, whether we know it or not. I want to make sure my imprint that I’m leaving [in this world] is not damaging, and actually is doing something good for the environment and good for animals,” she says, adding that one of the biggest problems she would run into with being vegan wasn’t the dietary restrictions, but the fact that most shoes were “made out of leather, but what people might not know is, even the adhesives that a lot of major shoe brands use are derived from animals, mainly horses. I just wanted to make it easy for people to live a cruelty-free lifestyle by providing stylish shoes that didn’t require the death of an animal.”
The entrepreneur did her research and found a good amount of substitutes for leather, such as cacti, mushrooms, and pineapples. Some of the shoes, manufactured in Italy, are getting their leather substitute from compressed apples (“A lot of people who go vegan think they have to sacrifice so much, but the truth is, you’re just opening yourself to an entirely new world with so many amazing options”) while the sustainable and eco-friendly selection includes “slip-ons, flats, kitten heels, mega-platforms, sneakers, combat boots, and even faux-fur moon boots.” In addition, Von D affirms that there is something for everyone in this wide-range collection, and they are only going to expand from here. Given that she aspires to spread positivity in every aspect of life through her work, Von D’s successful empire has proved just that.
Writer: Gavy Contreras
Photographers & Videographers: Eleanor & Brian Love
Stylist: Joshua David Reno (for Majesty Black)
Associate Stylist: Victor Cruz (for Majesty Black)
Hair: Sami Knight
Makeup: Leah Carmichael
Editor: Eiko Watanabe
Special thanks to Diablo Restaurant + Cantina (@diablotacola - www.diablotacos.com) & EPK Media (@myepk & @epkmedia - epkmedia.com)