What do you do when you’re tired of searching stores for something that doesn’t seem to exist? Well, in Kat Von D’s case, you create it yourself. That’s exactly what drove the beauty mogul and tattoo artist to launch her own line of luxe vegan footwear, Von D Shoes, which will be available to shop starting Nov. 1, which also happens to be World Vegan Day.
“I became vegan in 2013 and, to be honest, I thought it was just a dietary thing,” she exclusively explains to InStyle over the phone. “Then I was looking at my shoe collection and everything was either made out of leather or pigskin, or the adhesive used was derived from horses.”
Von D soon discovered that finding high-quality, cruelty-free shoes was far from easy, and it only proved to be harder to find ones that actually suited her specific aesthetic.
“It was really difficult to find things that matched up to the way I liked to dress,” she tells us. “I also looked around at all of my vegan friends and everybody was struggling in the same department.”
For more than two years, Von D worked to create her own shoe collection, making careful decisions about everything from price point —Von D Shoes range from $90 to $350 — to where, exactly, the pieces would be made.
“We actually found this factory in Italy that is comprised of families of artists," she says. "These are people who have dedicated their lives to shoemaking and really appreciate it as an art form. Our shoes are made in the same factories as Gucci, Chanel, Dior, and Jimmy Choo — that’s the level of quality that you're getting.”
While Von D knew that people would be looking to her collection to score pairs of her famous “sky-high platforms,” she also notes that a goal was to make shoes that appealed to everyone — not just those who dressed like her.
“It was really important to me to get vegan shoes on everyone's feet,” she says. “I really focused on making a wide variety of different styles — ballet flats, wedges, platforms, combat boots, riding boots, moon boots, creepers, and then a few unisex styles as well. The quote-unquote ‘women's styles’ come in sizes 5 to 12, just to be able to hook up all of my drag queen friends.”
There’s another reason why Von D Shoes stand apart from everything else on the market: aside from being vegan, they’re also sustainable. Von D shares that she was excited to learn that leather-like material was being made out of everything from mushrooms to pineapples, and adds that some of her designs are made from compressed apples — which, she swears “imitates leather in every single way,” even with how it ages.
The first drop of Von D Shoes will include 13 styles, with 19 more to follow in the coming months. However, there’s no real schedule for how often new designs will be released — and Von D isn’t putting any pressure on herself to keep them coming, either.
“To be honest, I'm quite against fast fashion, and the damage that it does to our environment, as well as the psychological damage it does to people,” she admits. “I feel like we live in a time where we feel this pressure to continuously buy, buy, buy. I don't really want to contribute to that. Every shoe that I make is designed to last a lifetime, and I don't want people to buy every single design, either. Whether you buy one, two, or three styles, they're going to last you forever.”
Just in case the price tags, sizing options, variety of offerings, quality descriptions, and overall message behind Von D Shoes doesn’t make you want to immediately “add to cart,” there’s also another reason to purchase a pair of these babies. Von D tells us that, for a few different pairs, including the bone-embellished Calavera pump, 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to no-kill animal shelters.
“We're working closely with Best Friends Society because the work that they do with no-kill shelters is really impressive and amazing.”
Although Von D is interested in partnering with different retailers — as long as they “seem like the right fit and won't compromise the pricing too much” — for now, everything will exclusively be sold on VonDShoes.com, starting Nov. 1.
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