Before breaking into the fashion world, Don Ed Hardy was a tattoo artist from Southern California. He was born in 1945 and graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. In 1973, he had the opportunity to study Japanese tattoo design under Horihide, a master of classical Japanese tattoo. Don Ed Hardy’s tattoos are one-of-a-kind and recognised around the world.
He and his wife have published a series of books about alternative art, under the label of Hardy Marks Publications. Hardy’s publishing career began with his five-part series “Tattootime.” He now has over 25 publications to his name, including many catalogs of his work.
Although Hardy no longer tattoos, he still oversees the work done at his studio, Tattoo City in San Francisco. He continues to concentrate on other art forms, including printmaking, painting and drawing, using his distinctive style.
In 2002, Hardy made the move into the world of fashion, licensing Ku USA to begin production of clothing using his artwork and style. Saks noticed the colorful and unique designs and began to distribute the clothing. Hardy formed an LLC with Ku USA, called Hardy Life.
The Ed Hardy clothing line was later licensed to Christian Audigier in 2004, following a chance meeting. Celebrities quickly picked up on the new fashion line and a new trend was born: tattoo fashion. Ed Hardy stores were opened in fashion districts, including New York, Los Angeles and Dubai. Devotees of the brand consider it more of a lifestyle celebrating tattoo art, rather than simply clothing to wear.
An Ed Hardy line is also available for kids. The line features clothing ranging from baby sizes all the way up to clothing for teens, available up to size 16. Items available include designer T-shirts, hoodies, dresses, jeans and even school supplies featuring tattoo artwork.
A line of professional styling tools marketed under the Ed Hardy name was introduced in 2010. The tools, all featuring the Ed Hardy name and artwork, include items like styling irons, blow dryers and hair accessories.
The Christian Audigier fragrance line first introduced Ed Hardy fragrances in 2008. The first offerings were Ed Hardy for women and Ed Hardy for men. The feminine version brings to life the vibrant tattoo art. The bright fruity scents of mango, strawberries and grapefruit are instant attention grabbers, the fragrant representation of the blazing colors in the artwork. Ed Hardy for men is woody and aromatic, with mandarin orange, bergamot and sage at the top, a hint of mint and a deep base of amber and musk.
These fragrances were followed by other in the series, including Hearts and Daggers, Love and Luck, Born Wild and Villain. Most of the fragrances in the Ed Hardy collection are available in both men’s and women’s versions.