Ed Hardy designed by Christian Audigier at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week March 2007 - Los Angeles
ED HARDY, the Story
His unmistakable trademark and charismatic personality make
the man of the moment. But who is this crazy and eccentric French
man known as, Le Vif, (the fast one). Christian, in just
about two years, has succeeded in taking the fashion industry by
storm and making
a household name. This has ultimately led him to becoming the
king of the designer T-shirt. He first received national recognition
when he put Von Dutch Originals on the map by using the idea of
pinstripe designs, which he developed into an international brand.
You could not go anywhere without seeing a T-Shirt or trucker hat
worn by celebrities or college kids on the streets of LA, Miami, New
York or Paris. His association to Von Dutch lasted a little over 3
years before Audigier, true to his passion for cars and motorcycles,
decided to start his own company once he was granted the exclusive
rights to work with the designs of tattoo artist Don Ed Hardy. Oddly
enough, he repeated his incredible success with the tattoo designs
of Don Ed Hardy, the godfather of tattoo. From Britney Spears, who
was his very first celebrity client, to Ashton Kutchner, Paris
Hilton, Hilary Duff and Justin Timberlake, just to name a few.
Christian has created a virtual who’s who of celebrity hipsters
wearing, the trucker hats, the jeans and the now infamous Ed Hardy
Audigier, a native from Avignon, France, has an impressive list of
credits and accomplishments under his belt. His career started in
his early teens when he was discovered by one of the top executives
at MacKeen Jeans. Christian had already created a denim collection,
greatly influenced by Rock n’ Roll. “My favorite group was the
Rolling Stones. It was natural for me to design cool clothes", says
Christian. Although under age, he joined MacKeen shortly thereafter
and became a major force in the company. During that time, he
traveled all over the globe from Tokyo to Paris to New York, where
he was blown away by that incredible city and its grandeur. “I
remember thinking to myself, I need to come here and start my own
company." No more than 3 years later, Christian moved to New York,
formed his own company and freelanced for the biggest names of the
denim industry: Guess, American Outfitters, Fiorucci, Bisou Bisou,
Levi’s, XOXO and revamped the Diesel brand. He created a name for
himself and became “the King of Jeans".
One cold winter day, while watching a television program on Bali,
Christian decided to move there. While still working in denim, he
experimented with jersey, and other materials. After living in Bali for
a few years, he returned to the States, this time to Los Angeles, the
Entertainment Capitol of the world. “LA seemed to be the next step for
me. The weather was great, I had lots of friends and clients living
there, and denim was always fashionable".
It was in 2002 when Audigier met Tonny Sorensen who had just
acquired the rights to the name ‘Von Dutch’, the legendary pin
striper and auto mechanic and was contemplating developing a film from
it. In talking with Tonny, Christian had a vision; why not a fashion
label? A clothing line. Using his savvy knowledge of the industry and
his marketing genius, mixed with his amazing ability to create jeans
that fly off shelves, Audigier convinced Sorensen to change his mind,
and the rest is history.
We recently met with Christian and asked about his phenomenal
Please tell us about the foundation of your success and what it takes.
It’s hard to say. I think that in a way I have been very lucky. I was
there when I needed to be. I knew the business, I was a designer by
trade, I love people and marketing is my second nature. It comes
naturally to me.
did you approach Von Dutch and its heir?
did not approach them they approached me. As far as Don Ed Hardy is
concerned, he was someone that I admired and that I wanted to work with.
We met, we liked each other and we decided to do business together.
After all, it is a 2 way street. I make him famous and he makes money
with me and everyone is happy.
made you leave Von Dutch for a new project?
Godfather of Tattoo. Also, it was time and I wanted to have my own
not? He is the best and I wanted to work with a legend.
did this decision affect your life and your business?
love my life. It is exactly how I want to live it. The success that I
know right now only adds to it. I am a pretty positive guy. I just love
life… I never make it so complicated. I love to have fun and to have a
good time with whatever it is that I am doing. I surround myself with
the same kind of people. I have many other projects in the works. I love
to be busy…
makes tattoo art so special? And why were you specifically attracted to
is very special because in a way you are committing your skin to it.
What I mean by that is; that whatever you decide to put on any part of
your body is there to stay and removing it is very hard so it is a major
commitment. And that is very special in itself. The art is vivid, clear
and personal. It has meaning.
Although tattoo art is very expensive, in many instances, it is
perceived to be for Harley drivers and bar lovers: What are your
thoughts and how can you change the perception?
True, however tattooing has been a trend and a fashion for quite
sometime now. It started when Rock n’Rollers rode their motorcycles and
borrowed the art form from the Hells Angels in the sixties. They started
the tattoo trend. Nowadays you have tattoo parlors everywhere and it is
chic to have a tattoo. It is not soly reserved to guys and Rock n’
Rollers, girls have them also, small, big, etc… So, I do not have to try
to change the perception. It was changed a long time ago. I fit in the
context of fashion. To place a tattoo design on a shirt certainly does
not nearly hurt as much as on skin. It is just fun… Tattoos are
what makes celebrities and designer stores such as Nordstrom, crazy over
It’s not Nordstrom or Macy’s that dictates fashion. It is the people.
They are the ones to create the demand and therefore the department
stores carry what they want to buy. You have to watch the people in the
streets, see what they like to wear, and then you can create what they
will be attracted to and what they will buy. The Stars are greatly
responsible for promoting a product, but they are people and there
again, if it’s fun or beautiful or interesting, they will wear it. It’s
got to be hip and comfortable.
couldn’t Hardy realize the success you have attained through his name
I do not know. You would have to ask him. But I imagine that not being
in the fashion industry and not having a full staff behind you may be
the reason. Plus, it simply is not his business. You always need to have
associates in life. It is practically impossible to do anything by
yourself. We just clicked…
Since the infamous trucker hats, he has designed T-shirts, Jeans,
Jackets, Bags, Shoes, Furniture, Motorcycles, etc. Christian’s future
endeavors seem to be endless. Audigier’s ability to set trends is quite
remarkable. He has become the most wanted brand of casual wear around
the world. He has licensed the Ed Hardy name out to bottled water and
apple-flavored energy drinks, shoes, belts, pooch bag, etc. His fashions
are sold in over 3000 stores in the world along with his own signature
stores in LA, New-York, Tucson, and soon to open Miami and Paris. His
company has exploded in its first year earning $15 million and he
projects it will earn $50 million this year. Price points range from $55
to $500 for a leather jacket.
Learn more at