posted by: Shomore in Shoe History Corner on November 21st, 2008
It may seem like Ed Hardy is an overnight success – the tattoo brand has popped up and gained a ton of street creed within a few short years. Ed Hardy merchandise is spreading like wildflower in every department store that I’ve frequented. I see people wearing the line everywhere I go and even Gucci has caught onto the trend in its Tattoo Heart Collection ad featuring Rihanna.
However, Ed Hardy has actually been around for a few decades. The man behind the tattoos, Don Ed Hardy (pictured below), is a tattoo artist whose origins begin in the late 1960s while studying printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute. While acting as an understudy of Sailor Jerry Collins in Hawaii, Ed Hardy refined his craft to produce graphic, detailed designs melded by his interest in American, Japanese tattoo work, surf, and the look we see on hot rod cars. Today, Ed Hardy is retired. But Christian Audigier of Von Dutch fame licensed the name in 2004 and drew upon Ed’s work to create the pop culture brand we know now.
Now I had doubts about whether the tattoo trend has long legs. Primarily, I couldn’t imagine the look gaining even more popularity than it already has. But I will put my vote in that the trend will last, at a minimum, through Spring 2009. Here are the main reasons why.
Last month I attended the Ed Hardy Spring ‘Street Fame’ 2009 Fashion Show. The overarching theme of the collection was colorful layers, flashy displays of color, and really, really over-accessorizing the Ed Hardy brand. I mean, look at these models – from the hat, purse, belt, skirt, tights, and boots, scarf (which I love and think it’ll make any plain outfit pop) – everything is from the Ed Hardy line. I wouldn’t be surprised if the underwear was also from the brand. At one point, one of the male models even carried out a gigantic Ed Hardy energy drink (not sure if this was a prop or if we’ll see this in stores soon) and there was even an Ed Hardy car freshener sample in the gift bags we received.
But the apple of my eye rested on these runway 4 inch patent platform pumps. The shape is traditional and nothing to write home about. The uniqueness is on the sole. Whereas YSL is copying Louboutin’s trademark red sole with a blue sole, the Ed Hardy soles are uniquely decorated by intricate tattoo designs. From what I could tell, each shoe had different tattoo designs so the casual gawker will be kept guessing what’s in and on the sole.
For the remainder of the show, the looks were pretty much in line with the Ed Hardy that we trust. There was the prerequisite Ed hardy sneakers and boots (who will wear them during spring, I cannot say). And really, one can already purchase them, albeit in slightly different colors, at Zappos right now. The sneakers are $69 and the snowblazer boots are $399.
I even had my chance to be marked by Christian Audigier himself. At the end of the show, Mr. Audigier came out for his curtain call and threw Ed Hardy hats from the runway (see in motion shot below).
Now, I was equally interested in the shoes off the runway. You can see them on the ‘Shoes on the Street’ thread over in the forums.