Christian Audigier is an arsehole, but the bogan loves him. Despite not knowing who he is. Despite being his personal billboard for years.
Mr Audigier is the plastic-faced French fashion designer who has unleashed the visual misery of not just Von Dutch, but also Ed Hardy on cities worldwide. His technique is devastatingly simple: repackage Californian redneck pop art from the 1960s by printing it on hats and t-shirts, get some trashbag celebrities to wear it, and then affix astonishingly high prices to the products. The bogan is willing to structure its entire month’s wages around the acquisition of one of these products.
“Von Dutch” was actually a Californian mechanic and car pinstriper named Kenneth Howard, who worked from the 1950s until dying of alcoholism-related causes around 15 years ago. His estate sold the rights to use his creative works to a Japanese conglomerate, who then on-sold them, and they eventually wound up in the filthy paws of Audigier. The brand’s time as genuine fashion was fleeting, before the bogan became aware of the brand and began paying $110 for a trucker cap bearing the logo.
Once the Von Dutch trend waned, Audigier returned with something even more obnoxious – Ed Hardy. Hardy is a Californian tattooist and artist who sold the rights to use his 1960s tattoo work in 2002, which were once again snapped up by Audigier in 2004. The subsequent clothing line features retro tattooing (skulls, flames, predatory animals, and other things bogans like) covering large tracts of the garment, with t-shirts selling for between $150 and $250.
Bright metallic print and glitter is regularly present. The bogan, like a moth to a light globe, is drawn to the opportunity to display fashionable torso tattooing at venues that demand the wearing of clothes. If the bogan is able to afford multiple Ed Hardy garments, it can also indulge its short attention span by donning a different garment the next day, and hence a new set of tattoos. Being able to display large tattoo art in a nightclub or shopping centre environment increases the confidence of bogans, and makes it feel closer to Hollywood.
At the conclusion of the Ed Hardy fad, Audigier will retreat to his lair, flip through a retro pop art book, and plan his next cynical attack on the salary of the unwitting aspirational bogan.
Update August 2010: As predicted, the fad has waned, with the Australian division of the company placed into administration (hopefully contributed to in some small way by us). That said, it is likely that Audigier will return in a new, toxic guise. When this occurs, we shall fight it.