Monday, April 30, 2007
At a dinner a few months ago with some folks who work in the tattoo industry, I voiced my opinion that the current fascination with all things tattoo-related was nearing an end. After all, how many tattoo reality TV shows, books, magazines, etc can the public really absorb? So imagine my surprise when the other day I walked by the Macy's department store here in Manhattan and saw their latest window displays which are built around classic tattoo imagery in support of a new line of clothes sporting Ed Hardy's designs. Does the tattoo fad still have legs? Or is this the death knell? Can tattoos maintain their "street credibility" now that they have been whole-heartedly embraced by mainstream corporate America? In the end, it doesn't really matter to me; but it must come as a bit of a blow to those who got tattoos in order to cement their personal "rebel" status. I wonder if tattoos can go the way of the skull - once used to strike fear in the hearts sailors by pirates, but now suitable for baby clothes. In an age where tattoos are increasingly common, can they still be thought of as marks of individuality?