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the designer of labels Ed Hardy and Von Dutch, passed away after a battle with cancer. He was 57 years old. In his later years, the often snobbish world of high-fashion treated Audigier essentially as a punching bag, his designs becoming the subject of mockery just as quickly as they got popular in the early '00s. His legacy may not be as glamorous as some other retail titans, but the guy knew how to sell people on the cool factor of his products. That's a talent few men possess, no matter what they're selling. In our profile of the designer from several years ago, one of his employees described him to Devin Friedman, All he asks is that you believe in him and you don't ever tell him, I can request absolutely nobody can criticize.

Early life

Hardy was born in 1945 in Iowa, where he lived for a year before his family moved to California. He attended the San Francisco Art Institute and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in printmaking. Hardy was a student of Sailor Jerry Collins and, through his association, was able to study tattooing in Japan in 1973 with the Japanese classical tattoo master Horihide. He became recognized for incorporating Japanese tattoo aesthetics and technique into his American style work.


In 1982, Hardy and his wife formed Hardy Marks Publications. Under this marque, they began publishing the five-book series Tattootime. Hardy Marks has gone on to publish more than 25 books about alternative art, including catalogs of Hardy's work and that of Sailor Jerry Collins.

In 2000, he was appointed by Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown to the city's Cultural Arts Commission.

In February 2010, Marc Jacobs sued Hardy for infringing on the designs of one of his embroidered handbags.

Today, Hardy is retired from tattooing. He oversees and mentors the artists at his San Francisco studio, Tattoo City. Since the 1960s, he has concentrated heavily on non-tattoo based art forms, especially printmaking, drawing, and painting.


2008 Ed Hardy brand shoe.

In the 2000s, Hardy licensed Ku USA, Inc. to produce a line of clothing based on his art. Within two years, the collection had drawn the interest of Saks companies.[citation needed] Hardy and Ku USA formed Hardy Life, which holds the trademark ownership as well as the copyrights to all his images.[citation needed]

In 2004, Christian Audigier licensed the rights to produce the Ed Hardy clothing line, which is based on Hardy's imagery. Prior to the Ed Hardy clothing line, Audigier was head designer at Von Dutch Originals, which marketed the imagery of Kenny Howard. Audigier has 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. Ed Hardy stores were located in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Seattle, Minneapolis, Honolulu, Scottsdale, Tucson, Vancouver, Dubai, Johannesburg, Kuwait, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Gurgaon, Delhi, Mumbai and Qatar.

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.

In 2010, IGP Beauty secured the licensing rights for Ed Hardy Professional Styling Tools.IGP Beauty has since then manufactured a variety of blow dryers, styling irons, styling tools, and hair accessories that include artwork inspired by Ed Hardy's famous tattoo designs.