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Kat Von D
courtesy of Instagram/@thekatvond

Influencer culture to blame for Kat Von D stepping away from beauty brand


TextAlex Peters

The tattoo artist says she has always felt like an outsider in the industry

A few weeks ago, Kat Von D announced that she would be stepping away from her namesake beauty brand after 12 years. Citing changes including the birth of her son, the launch of her vegan shoe line, and the upcoming release of her album, Von D said she could no longer balance everything and give her all to her make-up line.

Now, she has appeared on an episode of the Second Life podcast where she delves further into the evolution of Kat Von D Beauty and her reasons for leaving. 

Von D tells host Hillary Kerr that when Sephora first set up a meeting with her, she didn’t know what to expect. “I loved make-up – I’ve been wearing make-up since I was 11 or 12 – but it was never about beauty, I felt something inside and wanted to express it on the outside… it was a form of self-expression.”  

Explaining that she has never felt like she belonged, even within her own family, it wasn’t until she discovered punk rock music that she found a place for herself with other people who were “ok with being a weirdo and not fitting in.” It was this approach that she always took when it came to her make-up and when founding her brand she wanted to provide a space for others who also felt alienated. “It was about making this platform for us outsiders, and we were the first brand to really voice inclusivity. It was about not fitting into what’s expected, the societal ideals of what beauty is.”

Meditating on how much the industry has changed in the decade since launching Kat Von D Beauty, the tattoo artist says that while “for a moment there, I felt like I did find my place in the industry... the older I get, I realise that I don’t know if I fit into it any more.”

“It’s a culture thing now, we have influencers that are just continuously telling you that you have to buy, and if you don’t, you’re not cool or, ‘hey, this is what ‘beauty’ looks like!’ you know... It kind of throws me back to how I felt when I was a kid. So I feel like I stepped away from it a lot, partially on purpose.”

Von D ends saying that she achieved her goal of giving a voice to the outsiders and challenging beauty ideals and that now it is time to move on. 

Meanwhile, over at the newly re-branded KVD Vegan Beauty, Kendo has announced what the new name stands for. It does NOT (emphasis theirs) stand for a person’s initials they have stressed but rather for: Kindness, Vegan Beauty and Discovery (and Doing good)….we’re not entirely convinced. 

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