[Art] Fashion + Tattoos: Expression or Consumerism?

Tattoos are becoming more and more popular within the fashion and beauty industry. There’s already a very niche market for tattooed models but we are seeing this slowly infiltrate the fashion and beauty industry without any repercussions. So, is the industry more accepting?

While tattoos are a perpetual body modification, there are tattoo-covering products like Dermablend’s concealer that was used in an advertising campaign with fully tattooed Rick Genest, as also tattoo artist Kat Von D has also released a cosmetic line, including a Lock-It concealer that claims to cover tattoos. The two can go hand in hand to further a models career as the products allow tattooed models to become a blank canvas.

rick + Kat

[L to R] Rick Genest, Kat Von D.

Designer Marc Jacobs is heavily tattooed, that doesn’t mean all designers and brands are. Tattoos divide opinions within fashion and beauty marketing, some steer away from them within their campaigns. It really is a debate based on opinion, especially one set within an industry that is all about aesthetics and where becoming well known is all about having a unique brand and an image that defines you. Fashion and beauty industries seem to have begun accepting the diversity of models today, they want them to be recognizable and unique on their catwalks, whether that is because of their talents or their appearance.

MJ

Designer Marc Jacobs.

The influence of celebrities becoming inked could be a large contributor towards tattoos becoming socially accepted. Those who have gotten tattooed have sparked the industry and opened its doors to millions of more eyes. The modeling industry has become more accepting, and has no qualms using models with tattoos like Freja Beha ErichsenCara DelevingneErin WassonCatherine McNeil and Lily Donaldson in their shows, but celebrities have been getting tattoos and piercings for years, only now they can share it with the world on social media.

models

[L to R] Freja Beha Erichsen, Cara Delevingne, Erin Wasson, Catherine McNeil + Lily Donaldson.

Tattoos have traditionally been viewed by cultural theorists as anti-fashion due to their negative connotations and the mere fact that permanence is in stark contrast to the ethos of the fashion industry. The appearance of temporary tattoos on the pages of influential fashion magazine Vogue within the 2010 Chanel Primavera Estate Collection confirmed that the aesthetic of tattoos was in vogue, but as the permanence goes against the ethos of the ever changing industry are consumers ready for the fad to turn on them?

chanel '10 primavera estate

Chanel ’10 Primavera Estate Collection.

Nowadays tattoos are more acceptable, whether its because of the rise of ‘fashion tattoos’ or a genuine love for ink. Society’s outlook on body art has changed, they have grown to accept that individuals have the right to modify their appearances as they see fit. Tattooing is considered by both the tattooists and consumers to be a strong indicator as to the change of perception surrounding the subject in recent decades. This said, a divide between tattoos as either art or fashion does exist.

The discourse surrounding the body art of heavily tattooed individuals is vastly different to that surrounding those with only a few- who are considered to be the ones consuming tattoos as a fashion statement. Consumers of “fashion tattoos” tend not to relate to the artistic aspect of tattoos or the tattooing subcultures that exist, they are not the same individuals that turn their body into a canvas for permanent art, these individuals merely wear their tattoo as an accessory. Fashion tattoos tend to be less about the imagery and meaning behind them and more about merely adorning the body- the choice of the imagery tends to be based more upon aesthetic than anything else.

At the end of the day if you enjoy a cute “fashion tattoo” or decide that want to get a unique piece, always remember to find an amazing artist and get what makes you happy. You only live once and you shouldn’t have any regrets of what you should have done.

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