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  • Writer's pictureMacy

The Mastermind and Creative Mind of Ed Hardy: Christian Audigier v.s. Don Ed Hardy

Ed Hardy Watch, Purple

My Ed Hardy watch

I have always been attracted to Ed Hardy by Christian Audigier’s design since the late 90s. I own a purple-color watch for years which was not a small piece while sitting on my regular-sized wrest. My boyfriend and his similar minds would pop the question: why do you like the Ed Hardy stuff those douchebag guys wear. Recently I saw an ad for Amazon’s documentary of Christian Audigier: The VIF and I watched it. And I came to realize that the reason why I like it, the energy behind the design and the bold expression it brings. While doing my research, I highly appreciate the honesty of the documentary because from all the articles I have read, the journalists and writers are not brave enough to reveal the dark days of young Christian Audigier. So here I am, I am not going to talk about the glamour success stories of Christian Audigier. I am to present to you how this brand Ed Hardy was created and brought to the fame.

Christian Audigier was born in Avignon, southeast of France. Being the oldest son, he started working at very early age due to the absence of his father. His career was built on sales and design of jeans. In the early days of American influence in France, he idolized The Rolling Stone and his efforts made him one of the pioneer fashion designers from France to make it to the America.

In the documentary on Amazon, the prison days in Bali were the result of family matters and local drug-related laws. After escaping Bali, his American dream brought him to Los Angeles, California. He started working at Von Dutch, run by Tonny Sorensen, as the head designer. Von Dutch was famous for its trucker hat bearing the Logo at the front, on the heads of Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake at the beginning of the trend. The celebrity marketing strategy had been promoting the Von Dutch and Ed Hardy brands, and Christian Audigier himself. He was proud of being the face of the brands through his network celebrities and friends. He was also usually criticized by the haut-couture fashion community and some groups who love to hate the fake-tans and showing-offs.

On the other side of the Ed Hardy empire was Don Ed Hardy, a tattoo artist who created all the artworks that went on the T-shirts and hats of Ed Hardy clothing line.

Don Ed Hardy (Donald Edward Talbott Hardy ) was born in 1945, in southern California. He went to San Francisco Art Institute and then devoted his life into body ink medium. There was an “Ed Hardy: Deeper than Skin” exhibition at de Young Museum in San Francisco, ended in October 2019.

Ed Hardy’s love for tattooing came with the aides of Phil Sparrow and a Japanese tattoo master Kakimoto Horihide. When Ed Hardy went to Gifu City in Japan in 1973 to study with Horihide, he was the very first westerner to do tattoo there. in 1973, he opened his own appointment-only tattoo shop in San Francisco, and gradually his reputation of providing customized tattoo was spread, even to the east coast.

Don Ed Hardy

Credit: <Christian Audigier: The VIF>, Amazon Prime Video

The love and hate of these two people came from different personalities due to the unexpected rapid success. The creator appraised himself as an artist but did not approve the commercial empire created by the marketing guru. Being rich and famous meant a lot to Christian Audigier. Either you prefer Ed Hardy’s tattoo artworks back in the days or the attractively colourful personal statement people wear on themselves. This is a brand’s success story.

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