Don Ed Hardy is an American tattoo artist raised in
Southern California. Hardy is best known for his tattoo work
and his eponymous apparel and accessories brand Ed Hardy.
He became recognized for incorporating Japanese tattoo
aesthetics and technique into his American style work.
In the 2000s, Hardy has licensed his brand, and it is now found on a
wide variety of products. This began in the early 2000s, when Hardy
licensed Ku USA, Inc. to produce a line of clothing based on his art.
Hardy Way LLC, which owns the Ed Hardy brand and trademarks.
The most famous licensee was Christian Audigier, previously of Von
Dutch Originals, which marketed the imagery of Kenny Howard (aka Von
Dutch), another noted American subculture artist. Audigier 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.
The brand under Audigier was extremely popular for a time, peaking at more
than $700 million in gross revenue in 2009, but collapsed quickly in
2009–2010, with many stores closing.
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.
Learn more about the Ed
Hardy Men's Fashion brand.
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