Brand Perspective: In Re Ed HardyPosted: September 23, 2009 | |
“The marketing is more important than the product. People are followers. They want to be attributed to a certain style. Is not me making the rules, is reality. Is the reality.” -Christian Audigier
This is part one of a series on perspective.
The latest issue of GQ magazine arrived yesterday. While browsing I came across a profile article on Christian Audigier, the French designer responsible Von Dutch (website disabled, oops!) trucker hats and club and UFC favorite, Ed Hardy.
According to the running list on stuffwhitepeoplelike.com, “Hating People Who Wear Ed Hardy” ranked 124th. A thorough 20 minute search of the Internets yielded no other official tally’s, but I assume there is as proportional level of animosity towards the brand across races, as there is diversity in my experience, amongst its wearers.
Back to the article.
Mr. Audigier came across like everything I’d expect the designer of high-priced, rhinestone studded skull and crossbones, and tigers (for starters) adorned t-shirts, to be. He is unapologetic about the image his the brand promotes. He revels in the fact that it all but ensures an Ed Hardy customer will not get into certain clubs (at least in L.A). Like designers before him, Ed Hardy is more than just a brand, it’s a lifestyle.
And while some look down on Ed Hardy and related brands like Affliction, writing them off as attire of the tool inclined, both intentionally or not have developed strong brand culture, and in the case of Ed Hardy the backing of the Iconix Brand Group, owners of Jay-Z’s Rocawear brand, which invested $17 million for a 50% stake in the brand in May 2009.
My original interest in Ed Hardy on a substantive level stemmed from a discussion with a friend on how, with all the supposedly déclassé (from the GQ article) associations Ed Hardy appeared to have, was the brand continuing to be worn by a fair amount of party goers (at least down on 6th Street in Austin) and celebrities. The answer is simple. People LIKE being associated with that brand. They like images of flash and excess. It’s no different from minimalist purchasers of American Apparel.
Both are buying not just clothes but the identity that particular brand carries with it whether consciously or not. While the clothes don’t make the person, what you wear certainly does go into your personal brand.
The Take Away.
Say what you want about Mr. Audigier and Ed Hardy, but he knows how to market his brand and turn that dollar. And I’ll admit, I’ve contemplated adding an Ed Hardy shirt (just the a shirt) to my wardrobe from time to time.