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Ed Hardy Paradox – Follow up

December 23, 2009

Apparently Ed Hardy is NOT laughing all the way to the bank, but it seems that Christian Audigier is.  Ed Hardy has sued Christian Audigier for $100,000,000 for trademark infringement and breach of contract for misuse of the Ed Hardy brand and under reporting profits derived from brand sales.  That suit has since settled (terms undisclosed), but it certainly begs the question of how many of the assinine products that have literally zero relevance to tattoos (baby diapers, hand sanitizer, nasal strips, and car cleaning products) were actually approved by Ed Hardy himself.

One thing is for sure though; fear not members of the “Jersey Shore” cast and others of your ilk, the settlement of the Hardy/Audigier suit will ensure that you will continue to be up to year ears in all the bedazzled, tiger embroidered, stabbed heart depicting over the top t-shirts, jeans, perfumes, hand santizers,  and car seat covers a guy or gal with a 25 minute hair-gel blowout and an Oompa-Loompa tan could ask for.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. kabrel permalink
    December 23, 2009 10:05 pm

    You (and your adept use of a thesaurus) have made many assumptions in your 1st post and now this one. It is nice to see you took responsibility (i’m being nice) for fact checking AFTER posting what was I’m sure quite a time consummingl rant.

    It is quite clear by the Christian Audigier marketing and having been on this planet long enough to garner how merchandising snowballs occur that Ed Hardy’s stamp of approval on every toothbrush and pillowcase was clearly in question. But does that matter? My 7 year old daughter’s favotirite sneakers, the uber trendy laceless ones, with the “coolest ever” artwork on them are Ed Hardy. My daughter is a self proclaimed artist who is quite “out of the box” for a 7 year old, could give a rats tush if they’re Ed Hardy or Ricky Ricardo. You said it yourself, there’s nothing wrong with art for arts sake.

    If tattoo art is exactly that, it will out last every bejeweled cell phone case and faux full arm tshirt. We still eat tomato soup don’t we?

    • December 24, 2009 10:02 am

      **DISCLAIMER** – no thesaurus was used in the writing of this rant. 🙂

      To be honest I did a fair amount of research before I posted the article, but it didn’t initially turn up anything about the lawsuit, which I discovered later. That said, the fact that there was a law suit doesn’t undermine my point at all, in fact I think it strengthens it. The fact that Audigier essentially went rogue with the brand in an attempt to cash in on the marketing craze. Even if my underlying assumption that Ed Hardy didn’t approve this stuff isn’t completely accurate, it’s clear that he still cares about his name, and isn’t happy with how it’s being used. Furthermore, while you’re correct that I have made several assumptions in both pieces, sometimes that is a prerequisite for this type of writing. I don’t have access to every fact, particularly with respect to the lawsuit, which is confidential.

      Either way, I thought I made it clear that my article wasn’t a critique of Ed Hardy, but rather the culture that has sprung up around it. Ed Hardy is one of the great tattoo artists in this growing art form and I just think it’s a shame that because of the over branding and much (not all) of it’s clientelle, Ed Hardy’s art has become obscured a bit.

      As far as children are concerned, I certainly don’t include them in the group of people largely comprising the Ed Hardy customer base. I don’t hold children to any type of exacting standard whatsoever, when it comes to what they choose to wear or what trends they get caught up in. So I don’t judge children for wearing Ed Hardy sneakers any more than than I would judge a child for owning a Cabbage Patch Kid, collecting Baseball cards, wanting a Tickle Me Elmo and owning hundreds of Beanie Babies.

      The point is that slapping one of a small subset of tattoo-ish images on everything from diapers to children’s galoshes, is not art for art’s sake. It’s precisely the opposite. Tattoos are inherently art for art’s sake, at least to the wearers of them, because they can never be sold, given or transacted in any way.

      So yes, we still eat tomato soup because using the image of tomato soup doesn’t undermine the basic function of soup, which is sustenance. No one is ever going to go to the super market and think “Gee, I thought tomato soup was just some made up thing in those Andy Warhol paintings.” And on the flip side of that, buying a can of soup doesn’t cheapen Andy Warhol’s art, but tattoos are all about imagery and the experience of being tattooed. Not only has the Ed Hardy brand undermined the real Ed Hardy’s art to some extent, it cheapens it by treating the experience of acquiring that art as disposable. Tattoos are earned in my opinion, by the pain of the process and monetizing the imagery by slapping it on every consumer good you can think, no matter how absurd, completely divorces the art from that cornerstone of the tattoo process.

      Anyway, I hope that clarifies my point of view a bit. Thanks for contributing! This is exactly the kind of stuff I want on this blog.

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