Fashion Flashback: Ed Hardy

Downloads110In honor of the untimely death of Christian Audigier, Fashion Reverie looks back at his most famous collaboration, Ed Hardy.

Don Ed Hardy is a worldwide recognizable artist known for his tattoo art and eponymous and accessories apparel, Ed Hardy. Hardy graduated from the San Francisco Arts Institute with a degree in printmaking and through his study of tattoo art in Japan developed an original and interesting tattoo aesthetic that combined Japanese tattoo techniques with an American rock n’ roll style.

With his wife, Hardy formed Hardy Marks publications, publishing over 25 books on alternative art and tattooing. In 2000, Hardy licensed out his art to a variety of clothing and accessories companies, the most prolific being Christian Audigier who at that time was the creative director of the LA–based denim brand, Von Dutch Originals.

 Christian_AudigerAudigier licensed the worldwide rights to the Ed Hardy brand in 2005 through his holding company, Nervous Tattoo, and attempted to replicate the marketing techniques employed by Von Dutch Originals, marketing directly to celebrity clients and by opening stores in high profile fashion districts. Ed Hardy stores were located in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Seattle, Minneapolis, Honolulu, Scottsdale, Tucson, Vancouver, Dubai, Johannesburg, Kuwait, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Gurgaon, Delhi, Mumbai, and Qatar. At its peak in 2009, the Ed Hardy brand under Audigier was grossing more than $700 million dollars with fashion shows during New York Fashion Week and LA Fashion Week. And many of the accessories and clothing were worn by countless celebrities.

Ed Don Hardy image courtesy of onmilwaukee.com

Ed Don Hardy image courtesy of onmilwaukee.com

In 2010 many of the Ed Hardy stores closed causing and huge devaluation in the brand. Don Ed Hardy blamed Audigier for the collapse due in part to creative and marketing decisions by Audigier. In May 2009, Iconix Brand Group announced it had acquired a 50 percent interest in Hardy Way, LLC, the owner of the Ed Hardy brand and trademarks, which it increased to 85% in 2011. Hardy retains a 15% minority stake.

—Staff

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