In early 2008 if you were in a trendy club or bar in any North American city from Toronto to San Diego you would most likely see dozens of people wearing Ed Hardy t-shirts. As far as I can recall in the summer of 2008 the brand was on fire with t-shirts, women’s tunics and bikinis keeping the brand in the club goers mind as a must have item. Based on my own observation I would assume the brand has fallen out of favour amongst trendy and young people however I cannot just speculate I had to checkout the information on trends for myself.
According to Google insights searches for the keyword Ed Hardy peaked in 2008 with a ratio of 100 and it fell to as low as 31 in 2010. Based on these statistics we can safely say that the brand is 30% as popular as it was during its peak in 2008. Since Google is used as the main search engine of choice in most countries in the world we can assume these statistics to be quite an accurate measure of interest in the brand.
However, the question still remains, what has happened to this once wildly popular brand? Why did ed hardy rise so far and fall so fast like a shooting star. In my opinion the reasons that Ed Hardy was so quick to fizzle out as the source of attention in the fashion world are many. First of all, the crowd that ed-hardy appealed to which is fickle club goers and trend seekers, is notorious for consuming fads. If Britney wore it or Justin wore it they are going to wear it for a week then move onto the next thing that is in the spotlight. Additionally, there is nothing really special about Ed Hardy in my opinion. They were selling cotton print t-shirts that literally cost 5 dollars to make in China or less for exuberant prices of over 100 dollars retail. This is not sustainable. There were thousands of models based on tattoos and not much of a discernible collection. Another thing working against this brand in my humble opinion is that once you have seen one ed hardy you have seen them all. We get it, Ed Hardy is so cool, its clothing that looks like a tattoo. Unfortunately, like many fashion trends with their origins in a certain subculture that enter the mainstream, once everyone and their sister is wearing one the chic factor is gone and by that time the subculture that gave birth to the trend has moved far away from this fad. Yet another reason for the brand’s painful demise in my opinion is the brand simply went overboard in commercialization of their brand and trying to squeeze every penny out of the name. In the end, they had poisoned the brand. For example, ed hardy began as a tattoo brand and was relatively unknown in mainstream circles. Then it created some fashion items like t-shirts mainly. Where there were t-shirts then there were bikinis, underwear, jeans, sweat pants, track suits, hats, socks etc. Then later there were an alarming amount of consumer products like ed hardy fragrances, stickers, collectibles etc. What business does a tattoo artist have becoming the walmart of the tattoo fashion business? The simple answer: they do not. Thus, the crash and burn of Ed Hardy after 2008.
Overall, this brand was a brand that rose to high to fast and its crash back down to earth was not surprising. In my opinion it is the perfect example of a pure fad in fashion, much like yo-yos were a fad amongst youth in the 1990s.