Dorian Smith-Garcia transcends the cosmetic culture, transforming Black women from the mammie and video vixen, while bridging the gap between American and Japanese culture of makeup trends.
Dorian Smith-Garcia, owner of Kawaii Girl Cosmetics (KGC) is one of many beauty tastemakers to join the booming industry of cosmetics. She embraces the essences of #Blackgirlmagic, creating a line of unique and trendsetting eyelashes. Having worked in the beauty and fashion industry, she is a well-experienced beauty blogger and influencer. She now pushes her own beauty products.
Dorian’s mission is to create a makeup line that is inclusive, that will include the everyday woman, while enhancing her features.
“Beauty, to me is something that is natural and apparent, and is dependent on what you want it to be,” she states.
A distinctive name, Kawaii Girl Cosmetics may not automatically reflect a traditional African American or American brand, however Smith-Garcia explains her reasoning behind her unique company. “I am a huge Japanese fan,” she acknowledges. She has and continues to travel there often for work and leisure, even getting married in Japan.
Although, she hasn’t experienced any backlash from the African American culture on why she would choose to name her cosmetic line an Asian inspired name versus a Black or American name, she does recognize that there may be some people that may have an issue with that, stating, “in my experience, I know there are a lot of Black people who are fans of Japanese culture and influenced as consumers of their culture.”
Dorian acknowledges her passion and interest for Asian styled makeup and how it is a total contrast from the current trend of the heavy contouring and eyeshadow seen on the many faces of American and Black women today.
Kawaii makeup culture can be youthful looking, modest in contrast to American makeup, where it can bold and mature. “If you go on Instagram and look at most of the makeup tutorials that are trending, there are over the top,” said Dorian. “There is not anything wrong with that, however for everyday wear, it’s not very realistic.”
She wants to reclaim this current look for African American women, that they don’t have to opt for an excessive look. “I want people to rethink what it means to be a beautiful Black woman in American society, where we are often pigeonholed into finite definitions of who we can be and what we are allowed to present ourselves as,” she states.
Growing up in Indianapolis, Indiana, she recalls since the third grade that she has always been fond of Japanese culture. “I was told I talked different and wasn’t a ‘regular Black girl.’ I am very much use to knowing how to navigate life when you don’t fit into your cultural norms. This line is for all women of color who don’t fit into the stereotypes people put them into.”
KGC transcends the stigma of a Black woman’s beauty. “As a woman of color, a lot of times images often show us what is seen as beautiful for the Black woman, whether it be the mammie, vixen or something hypersexualized. Society hands us these extreme representations to choose from and I think that it’s detrimental for Black girls growing up.” An innovator, her line debunks these sterotypes and embraces what she calls a “carefree Black girl,” with Black Girl Magic. “I want to create a look that is not often associated with Black women.”
On what beauty is to her, “beauty is dependent on what you want it to be and maybe for you, it’s a little bit of lip balm and mascara, and that’s beautiful.”
“For me, I wear eyelashes all the time, because that is what I used to start my collection. Soon, I will be branching out with colors as well. Her brand eyelashes are for both women and men.
Kawaii Girl Cosmetics ranges in name, size, texture and wear.
All lashes can be worn up to 20 times with proper care. This year’s collection is the “Tokyo Collection” and each lash is named after a district in Tokyo. The Tokyo collection features 10 styles ranging from human hair, mink, 3D mink and 3D silk lashes (vegan friendly). “Our most popular styles are Odaiba, Tokyo and Ebisu. Odaiba is the most luxurious lash and features 3D mink set on a clear band for a natural and light fit.”
From FENTY BEAUTY by Rihanna to IMAN cosmetics, there is a multitude of products generated for Black women to choose from. “I’m excited that Rihanna came out with FENTY BEAUTY. Black women and women of color have so much buying power in this country, yet we’re ignored and treated as a commodity. The things that we create are profitable for mainstream culture. “She is one of few women who has made it a appoint to market to us.”
Smith-Garcia is not yet focusing on foundation, but reveals that is in the future for KGC. As an influencer, she appeals to Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, and multi-ethnicities. “I want my company to look like diversity.”
Although women love to wear makeup, Smith-Garcia recognizes the importance for women, particularly Black women to take care of their skin. “This is something I can relate to. I have eczema and sensitive skin, however, I have a very strong skin care regimen. I live in New York, so my skin is changing due to the weather. With the makeup trend of reinventing your face, we have to remember to take care of our faces.”
KGC is a multicultural brand, however, Smith-Garcia reinforces Black entrepreneurship. The significance of Black owned businesses was embedded in her as a young child. “My family focused on entrepreneurship. My grandfather was an entrepreneur in the 1950’s in New Jersey being a Black man working among White people and clients. Owing your own business versus having to work for someone, hoping to put you on payroll” is ideal according to Dorian.
She further states, “with everything going on here in the U.S. within the last year, it’s important for Black people to know we’re all out here striving, working hard, because it doesn’t matter who is in office or what’s going on, we still have to run our race. We still need to make sure we are creating opportunities for ourselves.”
Dorian admits that as she promotes her brand on social media, she always recognizes that her company is a #Blackgirlbusiness, in supporting Black female entrepreneurship. “We are big spenders in the beauty industry and should support brands that create products for us.” Smith-Garcia concludes that it’s important for the Black community’s self-pride and self-confidence to support each other.
Go to www.kawaiigirlcosmetics.com to learn more about owner Dorian Smith-Garcia and to purchase Kawaii Girl Cosmetics products.