Tatted Up

Reality TV star and ink artist Kat Von D launches an eponymous footwear collection.

WHILE HER NAME may have made headlines most recently for her on-again, off-again relationship with Jesse James (Sandra Bullock’s infamous reality TV star ex-husband), devotees of the TLC Show LA Ink know that Kat Von D’s true claim to fame lies in her impressive abilities as one of the world’s best-known tattoo artists. So when the opportunity arose to create a clothing and footwear line, the ink impresario felt it would be a natural next step.

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Reality TV star and ink artist Kat Von D launches an eponymous footwear collection.

WHILE HER NAME may have made headlines most recently for her on-again, off-again relationship with Jesse James (Sandra Bullock’s infamous reality TV star ex-husband), devotees of the TLC Show LA Ink know that Kat Von D’s true claim to fame lies in her impressive abilities as one of the world’s best-known tattoo artists. So when the opportunity arose to create a clothing and footwear line, the ink impresario felt it would be a natural next step.

Just as Von D has been tattooing since an early age, “I’ve been into altering my clothes since I was an early teen because my mom taught me how to sew,” she explains. That’s part of the reason, Von D notes, that she decided not to license her name, but to actively participate in the design process for her collection. “I hate even considering myself a celebrity, because to me, I’m not,” she adds. “I’m a tatooer; I’m an artist first and foremost.” Not to mention, Von D adds, consumers have caught on to the fact that many celebrities nowadays are willing to slap their name on any product that might be profitable. “They’re just oversaturated with everything from ping pong paddles to clothing lines. I refuse to do that.”

But while Von D is personally obsessed with platform shoes dating from the ’40s to the ’70s, she knew that her footwear collection would need to appeal to a more mainstream audience. Inspired by the frigid winter temperatures during her European book-signing tour last year, Von D says with a laugh that she “understood the importance of a quality boot after that trip.” Launching for Fall ’12, the Kat Von D Los Angeles footwear collection will include an array of classic sheepskin boots in shades of black, gray and red, decked out in rhinestones, studs and fringe. “I just wanted to make something that still had some sort of style but is still practical and actually functional,” Von D explains.

While the down-to-earth Von D shies away from comparing herself to other designers, she admits that her biggest influences tend to be the rocker chic creations of Thomas Wylde and Rick Owens. “They have a lot of clean lines and simple, straightforward, and—I hate to use this word—but edgy and outside-the-box designs.” To maintain that balance in her own line, Von D says she likes to create items that would appeal to her mother’s more conservative tastes as well as her own outthere style, like the line’s Camilla boots, available in a sophisticated black and a bold crimson red, which Von D admits: “They do take guts to wear, but they’re also fun.” —Audrey Goodson

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