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For Better or For Worse
First off, this has nothing to do with Rachel Larratt's marriage during APP a couple nights ago

This is about the fad and publicity of tattoos. The questions I'm posing is, "Is all this publicity of tattoos, and the fad of tattoos for the better or for the worse?"

While I was at the APP convention in Vegas, I saw a TON of Ed Hardy clothing, Ed Hardy Clothing Stores, and even Ed Hardy Clothing stands along the strip and in the casinos. When I first saw the Ed Hardy line coming about and the cigarette deal, I was happy about it. I thought it was awesome that there was some tattoo culture getting out there. Now the clothing is everywhere, and all "blinged" out. Seems like the line is moving away from the traditional tattoo culture / style and catering more towards the crowd that's finding it cool to wear. I totally misread where this was going. 

Now there are 53 different companies licensing the "Ed Hardy" brand for everything from energy drinks to hookahs. This is where the topic of "selling out" comes into play. My personal opinion is that he deserves everything that he's worked for. Ed Hardy has been creating tattoo-style art for almost as long as I've been alive. With a book series (tattootime), "Modern Primitives", and tattooing, I would say that I would be happy to shake his hand. This is an old-school tattooer that has developed a brand identity that is now world-renound. Something that was considered impossible when he first started in the business. Oh... wait a minute... he didn't sign up for any of of what would be considered "selling out"! He got totally ripped off! In February, Don Ed Hardy took up a lawsuit against Christian Audigier (the guy who thought Ed Hardy Hookahs was a good idea) for over $100 million. The lawsuit brings up charges of trademark infringement, breach of contract, unfair competition, and cybersquating. Going up against a large company like that has got to be ridiculously time consuming, expensive, and hyper-stressful. Now it's become a brand that I generally only see people wearing that I wouldn't want to have anything to do with. Has this over-exposure and new "fad" of clothing choice dulled out the importance of tattoos, or has it opened peoples eyes to the acceptance of people with tattoos?

Check out this photo of a promo for Ed Hardy glasses... Notice anything that should be important but is missing? How about the fact that NO ONE IN THE PHOTO HAS A SINGLE TATTOO?!

Another area of tattoos in the mass media is that of tattooed people being used in ads to show that their products (clothing most of the time) appeal to the "cool / rebellious" guys and girls. And who doesn't want to be one of those people? =)

I've seen these ads mainly on the streets (bus stops / store windows) in New York City, and in Magazines. I found two ads on the interwebs to share with you to show the idea of what I'm describing.

This type of tattoo publicity I don't mind, and actually kind of appreciate. I receive these as tattoos being accepted into modern day society, and even in upper class circles. This seems to put off a message that even the fancy people have tattoos, so maybe they're really not that bad. Ha!

The last area I want to bring up is that of tattoo reality TV shows. We have LA Ink, Inked, Miami Ink, and the countless number of pilots that have gone unaired (I've been around 2 of them myself).<
.: Adam
Since 2003, Adam Callen has been the editor and publisher of, not the largest or oldest full-spectrum body modification publication on the planet, but pretty damn awesome =). Copyright © 2023 Adam Callen. Permission is granted to reprint this article in its entirety as long as credit is retained and usage is non-commercial. Requests to publish edited or shortened versions must be confirmed in writing. For bibliographical purposes this article was first published May 11, 2009 in New York City, US.

I hope someone sees the humor in this =)
At times i think it is great that body mods are becoming more accepted. it is good for those of us that are truly into mods and not the fads. it helps so we are not discriminated against as much.

but on the other side the blind followers that get more permanent mods like tattoos or stretched ears i think that it could cause problems. they dont think and in 5 or 10 years there all going to cry and complain at once about the mistake they made and that could end up hurting the modding community.

i also agree that no tattoo artist should ever do a facial neck or had tattoo unless the person has a good majority of there body covered. i am just now going to get a tattoo around my wrist and it took me 3 years to decide to do that.
Posted on May 11, 2009 (11:51pm)
What does it take for me to give you a face tattoo? You better look like me.
I am so tired of being asked if I watch that drivel. If it was even a SMIDGEN about the art of tattooing, I MIGHT watch it. But we all know its just about shop drama and tits.
As far as the Ed Hardy many industry professionals can even AFFORD that
Posted on May 12, 2009 (1:18am)
I think it's for worse myself, unfortunately.
It's just a part of the industry that you explained but that's becoming after every year a bigger part of it.

I personally never known or seen someone that after seeing La ink or such became interested in tattoos that much. It's just a superficial interest that has nothing to do with all the people i know who really believe that modding is a great thing.

The same with ed hardy,i like some of those products but meh..they do cost exactly like a Gucci product wich is not what i'm searching for in my life!
Posted on May 12, 2009 (2:54am)

i'm not sure how i feel about it all, but i would like to say, at least you've cleared up for me a bit about Ed Hardy the person.

I noticed the brand is much bigger in europe than oz, but maybe because i like to think of tattoos as a personal thing rather than something of mass consumption, seeing very wealthy upper class european matchnig their ed hardy products with their dior did make me want to gag slightly...
but thats just me.
Posted on May 12, 2009 (3:27am)
i do like to watch the shows for the tattoos some artists are amazing i would like to get tattooed by them simply coz they were tattooing BEFORE the show for many years its true they have drama so do most places

LA ink/miami ink and london ink(london ink is stupid coz of Louis Molloy who thinks he can tattoo coz he tattooed David Beckham once and he became famous because of that one tattoo)
i watch it for the art work and the artists mainly Chris Garver amazing artist
belive it or not its helped people understand why you get tattoos ect as adam said

but the Ed hardy stuff it goes to far when people were it with no mods at all its a fad it will blow over soon

the shows have never made me want to become a tattooist/piercer i always wanted to be one from the first time i seen ink on skin

kat von d is over rated shes a good artist but she trys too hard the whole image thing blarg

Posted on May 12, 2009 (5:36am)
i personally am all for the acceptance of such a beautiful culture, however, i HATE that christian audigier bullshit!!! I can't stand the fact that tattoos ARE indeed becoming a major fad-such has lobe stretching (
Posted on May 12, 2009 (6:07am)
awesome...i don't think my whole comment posted...-_-
Posted on May 12, 2009 (6:08am)
I found a few Ed Hardy bike helmets when I was at a show the other month.

But yeah, endo666 pretty much sums up my opinion on the matter :)
Posted on May 12, 2009 (7:07am)
I think it's a bunch of crap. Although, this too shall pass. I had never even heard of the Ed Hardy lines until I moved to Fall River (super ghetto) and saw all the ghetto fabulous, gots more cash money than me kuz they be livin' off the government wearing it.

I mean, sure it's wonderful that there's a light on modification and it's becoming more accepted for those of us that truly love body modification. But I'm sure when the fad dies out, we'll also suffer consequences.

As far as the television shows go, everyone with half a brain should know that all of that shit is staged. (PS, I hate Kat for glorifying facial tattoos to teeny bopper bitches - - all the more reason to not get the facial tattoos that I want)
Posted on May 12, 2009 (8:36am)
It's like skateboarding ... for some time everybody did - even in freezing russia for 6 days a year - and than it shrunk back from fashion to fun again but for the ppl who lost their heart to that piece of wood with rolls it was always the same!
Posted on May 12, 2009 (9:05am)
i had never heard of the Ed Hardy range until i read this, actually. not seen any of it where i live.

but i am quite against the commercialisation of body modification because i think it promotes it to the wrong kind of people, and by 'wrong kind', i mean people who didn't realise this is what they want for themselves by themselves. if they were influenced by the media then surely it's a phase - not as though it's a part of their soul.

although i understand and like fashion to an extent, i think it's pushing it too far when it starts to mess with peoples bodies - and permanently.

i like that a few more people may become accepting because of shows like LA ink and so on, but it can't be that much of the population because a lot of people aren't open to changing their minds for this sort of thing - and i don't really blame them to be honest.

i like what i do, and what i will carry on doing. regardless of what anyone thinks and this should be the attitude of ALL people who choose to modify themselves - not just some.

good read, adam. i enjoyed it.
Posted on May 12, 2009 (11:19am)
It happens everywhere, you can't you didn't expect this to jump from being a trend into being a marketing tool
I believe those of us who live the body modification culture should just step aside from this. It will eventually end, just like everything, and we'll still be here, commenting on the true spirit of this, call it search for enlightment, art, rebellion or whatever
Is anyone asks, you can explain your point of view, if anyone criticizes you can explain why you think they're wrong, if anyone is curious you can impart your knowledge, but you definitely can't change the fact that companies want to make money out of and using whatever they can
It's all about that, in the end...
Posted on May 12, 2009 (1:24pm)
i think don ed hardy needs a slap across the mouth for this silly shit. i also thought it was a good idea at first, then it just got out of hand. now it's come to the point where it's just another trendy marketing campaign. who are those non-modded fucks in the picture? why are they representing tattoo culture clothing?
Posted on May 12, 2009 (1:31pm)
The culture of tattooing has definitely changed a great deal in the last years. It's unfortunate.
Posted on May 12, 2009 (4:39pm)
Everything will, at some point, get appropriated by the mainstream. If you're a true lover of tattoos, you'll still be into it after the fad has passed.

It always cracks me up/infuriates me (depending on my mood), however, that since Kat Von D became famous, every layman on the planet compares every tattooed girl to her. If a customer tells me or one of my friends how much we 'look like Kat Von D' one more time, I'm going to puke.
Posted on May 13, 2009 (8:24am)
I just slightly skimmed through this, but I know I have never been a huge fan of Ed Hardy... They are like super Gucci price and the art work on these products isn't even that good.
Posted on June 12, 2009 (1:51am)
Posted on August 12, 2009 (12:59am)
I pretty much can go along with you one-hundred percent. You pretty much r00l at life.
Posted on September 29, 2009 (9:44pm)
I think some things just won't change, as long as people are chasing $change$, and as far as im concerned they might as well put those guys (media) in a cage and browse ad to ad and while eating popcorn and elephant eat! all that sort of stuff.
Posted on May 11, 2012 (2:41pm)
^elephant ears... but i guess its ok to look but stop touching up our community and way of life with all your high end high class BS
Posted on May 11, 2012 (2:45pm)
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