Ed Hardy blames Jon Gosselin for killing his brand: he was ‘the nail in the coffin’

Jon Gosselin with Christian Audigier in 2009

Back when the Gosselins were achieving the pinnacle of their fame, back when Jon Gosselin called himselfthe most photographed person on the planet” after getting caught cheating on his bitch wife, Jon was wearing Ed Hardy t-shirts. He seemed to epitomize the brand, which soon became synonymous with “douche” and “try-hard.” A lot of that was due to French fashion designer who was running and had licensed the brand at the time, Christian Audigier. Audigier never met a d-lister he didn’t like. He flew Gosselin and his then girlfriend, Hailey Glassman, in 2009 to his yacht in France, where paparazzi followed the couple like they were more than just flash-in-the-pan reality stars. He also befriended George Clooney’s cocktail waitress ex, Sarah Larson (remember her?) and gave her modeling job right after Clooney dumped her.

The real Ed Hardy is speaking out about Audigier, claiming that he ruined his brand. He’s since wrested back control of it and has a new memoir out. Here’s part of his interview with The NY Post, with more at the source:

“That Jon Gosselin thing was the nail in the coffin,” says the actual Ed Hardy. “That’s what tanked it. Macy’s used to have a huge window display with Ed Hardy, and it filtered down and that’s why Macy’s dropped the brand.”

The 68-year-old tattoo visionary is sitting in Soho’s Thom Bar in a classic pink buttondown and sharp navy blazer with his extensive tattoos — which stop at his wrists — peeking out from under his cuffs.

He is good-humored, like a cool uncle. And no, he’s not dripping with bling and aggressive cologne.

That dude would be Christian Audigier, the celebrity-obsessed French businessman who licensed Hardy’s art onto everything from T-shirts to air fresheners and energy drinks. He accompanied Gosselin on that ill-fated trip to Cannes.

“Christian worships celebrities so much, he will get next to anyone who is famous for anything,” says Hardy, who says people thought Hardy was made up — like Aunt Jemima. “If he could have gotten Charles Manson in a shirt, he would have.”

But who is really the man whose name has become synonymous with the word “douchey”?

Hardy, who just penned a fascinating new memoir, “Wear your Dreams: My Life in Tattoos,” chronicling his journey from artist provocateur to accidental fashion mogul, is a Southern California-raised collector of art books. He attended art school and even turned down a full ride at Yale grad school to became one of the world’s leading ink artists.

As a youngster in Corona Del Mar, Calif., Donald Edward Talbott Hardy was precociously obsessed with tattoos, even drawing them on neighborhood kids with the caveat that they were at least 9 years old.

“In those days you wanted to be a fireman or jet pilot,” he says. “I would say, ‘I am going to be a tattoo artist.’ ”

[From The NY Post]

Hardy has more to say about his brand and how it got hijacked by Audigier but ended up making a mint. He gained back control in 2010 through a series of legal battles, and Audigier then stepped down after selling it back to him. The brand may be shot, but it still probably makes a ton of money. It’s on practically everything and there are still people who buy it. I see people wearing Ed Hardy shirts occasionally although I live in the south where people can be blissfully unaware of how they look. Hey it takes the pressure off me to feel the need to look polished all the time, I appreciate that.

These are photos from 2009 of Jon with Christian Audigier and his then-girlfriend, Hailey Glassman. Credit: BauerGriffinOnline

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101 Responses to “Ed Hardy blames Jon Gosselin for killing his brand: he was ‘the nail in the coffin’”

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  1. BooBooLaRue says:

    LOL! Talentless Ed Hardy lashes out.

    • BooBooLaRue says:

      Opps, what Erinn said below!

    • Bodhi says:

      Ed Hardy is actually really talented. Its a shame he sold out, though. My friend saw him at a tattoo convention a few years ago & said that people were all Ed Hardy’d out & walking past his booth without even looking over.

    • TrustMOnThis says:

      He’s hardly talentless. He miscalculated and overreached is all. He was out of his field and over his head and he lost control of his brand.
      Don’t confuse Hardy, the tattoo artist whose graphic tattoo flash designs were licensed with Audigier, the garment designer.
      That said, I do find this story pretty funny. And a great example of why you shouldn’t use your own name as your brand name (see also Diane Von Furstenberg).

      • Denise says:

        What’s your angle on DvF?

      • TrustMeOnThis says:

        DVF was a smashing success with her wrap dresses. She got into financial trouble (I believe it had to do with overestimating the wrap dress popularity after a few years, overproducing and getting into debt, or else there was a supply line issue and she couldn’t fill orders but I think the former) and made some licensing agreements to try to salvage the business, and lost control of her brand – which was also her name.

        The upshot was that she was not legally able to design under her own name for years. She finally got it back.

        So this is why they tell you not to use your own name for your line.

      • jessiesgirl says:

        I think the proof is demonstrated by how many people on this post don’t seem to understand Christian Audigier designed the clothing. There is a reason it started to look like the Affliction brand, its from the same design company. Originally, the line was just tattoo flash with the hardy name; the douche wear came later and is not Ed Hardy designed.

  2. Erinn says:

    Yeah, okay Ed. A Z list celebrity who very few people follow killed your brand. It’s definitely not that most of your shirts just scream douchebag, and aren’t even somewhat nice looking.

    • annaloo. says:

      +1 on this, Erinn. Ed Hardy’s products found their consumers, and he’s mad that they’re douchebags and dodobirds?

      When you point a finger at someone, there are always three pointing back…

    • Kate says:

      ITA. Ed Hardy got a lot more attention due to “Jersey Shore.” I don’t think those guys did much to elevate the brand, either. It’s for douchey guys.

    • TrustMeOnThis says:

      You do realize that Ed Hardy wasn’t the one who came out with the line of douchewear, right?

      He licensed his name to Mr Douchey Designer Dude (pictured above – Ed himself is someone else and is not even pictured in this article) who did all the garment designs, the marketing, etc.

      Basically Ed sold the rights to his name and artwork, and made a poor choice. Then he fought the guy in court to make it stop. He was dumb but you can’t hang the douchey thing on him. That’s the designer dude.

      Too bad there isn’t a photo of Ed himself to help make this more obvious.

      Can you even imagine, thinking you’d made a good business deal only to watch your name become mud?!

      • Sumodo1 says:

        DING! DING! DING! We have a winner!

      • Gia says:

        Thank you. Ed Hardy is a tattooing legend who has a distinctive style of drawing that was used as a base for ‘Ed Hardy’ designs. As stated above, he made a decision/mistake to sell his name and style but it was turned into a freak show by the people behind the brand. I think Vice has a feature on him in their Tattoo Age series on Youtube. People should watch it to get a true understanding of who Ed Hardy really is.

      • gg says:

        The so-called distinctive style of drawing belongs to Sailor Jerry, not Ed Hardy. Hardy was a protege who simply carried on Sailor Jerry’s exact same work. Maybe he added some more colors, but the original work was designed solely by Sailor Jerry. Hardy merely copies his cartoons.

      • annaloo. says:

        I think as an artist, you have to be careful and consider where and how your work will be displayed, ESPECIALLY when it enters the realm of commercial licensing. I illustrate young girls in a very rated R Disney style, and have been approached by licensors to use my work for teen novelty, notebooks, etc… I have always maintained that I would not want to see my work in WalMart or on gear that is too young — but then again, if someone likes my stuff, I have no control over it.

        Ed Hardy has learned this is what happens sometimes when you make deals with the devil. What licensing rights did he give up, and did he demand creative control? Did he just hand it all over to CHristian Audigier?

        And also consider, as talented as an artist as he may be, he popularized something that came from alt culture and took it mainstream, where it was primarily consumed by Jersey Shore, balding midlife crises Dads and reality TV types. Sorry you feel the respect isn’t there for you as an artist (or a brand, as he says). Some people just call it selling out.

        Maybe he ought to just embrace that’s where his art took him, bc it sounds like he didn’t control (or know how to control – honest mistake) where his art went. It was a good economic decision for him as business, but a horrible one for him as an artist. He should just face the reality of how he is looked at, grow the money he made and enjoy life. Or perhaps give back to the tattoo and alt/culture community in some way. At this point, complaining about it is going to fall on deaf ears.
        At least he is one of the lucky artists out there to actually see payment for his work.

      • Hakura says:

        @Annaloo – I will understand completely if you’d rather not, but I would *love* to see some of your work, if you have it online somewhere?

        I’m an artist myself, though my style leans more into the ‘anime’-video-game inspired style. I’m nowhere near as good as you likely are, but I’m awfully curious to see =)

  3. SW says:

    I’ve always kinda liked Jon Gossling. He’s a douche for sure, but I think he got married young to a very controlling woman and didn’t know how to act when he didn’t want to follow the script he’d been given anymore. So he turned into every bad stereotype you can think of. However, he’s seemed to calm down and figure himself put lately….kudos to him for getting it together, at least somewhat!

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I agree. I think he was in such a repressive relationship for so many years, he kind of acted out when he first got his freedom. I think overall, he has shown himself to be a better parent that puts their kids first.

      Kate, however, was verbally abusive to both her spouse and her kids. I really hope she has gotten some help for that.

      • lisa says:

        jon is a perpetual 12 yr old who will always be with someone just like that because it keeps him from having to shoulder any responsibility. the controlling person will always do everything herself to see that it is done right.

        he’s super lazy

      • Marie Antoinette Jr. says:

        I agree with you lisa. He’s the type of person who takes the abuse because it’s easier than making decisions and being responsible for himself. The problems came when the amount of kids overwhelmed even Kate and she actually needed his help. She needed him to be competent and he couldn’t cut it.

        I known a few couples like them. And my guess is that they would still be married if the humiliation hadn’t been so public and/or if they had never gotten to the point financially where they could afford to divorce.

  4. GiGi says:

    Yeah. It was totally Jon Gosselin. Not the myriad other douchebags who’d been sporting this stuff for years…

    • QQ says:

      This THIIIISSS!!! Not the bunch of Douchebag Roidy Bros that have come to be a synonym of your bunk ass tacky looking shit or the midlife crisis dads that were sporting em whilst clubbing the past bunch of years OR the Fact that all his shit looks like a Tattoo parlor vomited on you, Nawl… None of that

    • bec215 says:

      I find it appalling that several women responding here are calling john Gosselin lazy so that is why he didn’t leave a clearly abusive relationship. You would never say that about an abused woman. Shane on you for playing “blame the victim”. I know a man with poor self esteem who was beaten down emotionally by his wife, and he was NOT lazy. Women can be extremely cruel, and at some point the guy will hit rock bottom and see he is better than that. He may not be worthy of admiration, but he deserves better than the way his wife treated him. So did the children. There is plenty of evidence Kate planned to have high order multiples to make herself rich and famous…her plan sally worked.

    • bec215 says:

      I find it appalling that several women responding here are calling john Gosselin lazy so that is why he didn’t leave a clearly abusive relationship. You would never say that about an abused woman. Shane on you for playing “blame the victim”. I know a man with poor self esteem who was beaten down emotionally by his wife, and he was NOT lazy. He may not be worthy of admiration, but he deserves better than the way his wife treated him. So did the children. There is plenty of evidence Kate planned to have high order multiples to make herself rich and famous…her plan sally worked.

  5. eliza says:

    Gosselin and every other douche bag wearing the shirts on the planet killed the brand.

  6. lisa2 says:

    Jon seems to be out of it all. Leave the man be. It was all good when he was on the show.

  7. Dawn says:

    Whatever makes you feel better Ed. But the truth is you hired him and therefore it is still on you.

  8. anon33 says:

    I didn’t even read the story yet but



  9. Hautie says:

    Now see, I would have placed blame of the killing of the brand, at the hands of all those douche bags bros hanging out in the clubs. At the pools in Vegas. Ya know. Douche Bag Central.

    And I agree. The stuff is still all over the place. I see all kinds of 20-30 year old males wearing it all over Dallas.

    So the sad multimillionaire, will have to cry to someone else.

  10. erika says:

    note to gosselin/douche gf, learn to handle a champagne flute correctly…take cue from the ‘well mannered’ (cough…choke) ‘europeans’……sorry, i’m making a s****ty case….nobody has class in that pic…

  11. teehee says:

    Well, you shouldnt have hired him then. And if your brand can be representative of such people, maybe rethink your brand so it doesnt appeal to them.
    And, low of you to blame something so much smaller than your brand, supposedly, for your own failure— douche meet douche, I suppose??!?

  12. RobN says:

    They were a fad to begin with, and like all fads, faded away. Being associated with D-bags probably didn’t help, but it was never going to last anyway.

    • Mauibound says:


      I was so glad to see this fad fade, douchey for sure! My sister and her kids were totally into it, all I could do was shake my head.

    • gg says:

      ^ this ^ It was inevitable.

      Before all this overexposure, a few years ago I went into an Ed Hardy store in NYC to see what the fuss was all about. Thin, ugly t-shirts for over $100 apiece made me laugh. Then department stores were selling knockoffs undetectable from the originals to most people. Then everybody on reality tv was wearing it out. I just assumed they mailed the stuff to everybody and anybody on any reality show.

  13. truthful says:

    all those roided up, tanned/fried and hair gelled playas in the club took you down..

    I remember seeing the cologne and just shook my head.

    I refuse to wear the one t shirt I have, even to the gym.

  14. Jayna says:

    That you even thought of D-list Jon for your brand showed you had already hit rock bottom and were desperate.

  15. Murphy says:

    Jon was definitley bad but I think it was all the Guidos that really killed it

  16. Emily says:

    “D list” is really generous for Jon Gosselin

  17. littlestar says:

    Sadly, a couple of my fiancé’s friends wear Ed Hardy shirts. But these are small town Saskatchewan boys who have no style, bless their hearts lol. They don’t know any better :) .

  18. Joy says:

    It seems like some of you don’t quite grasp that he isn’t a crappy fashion designer. He’s a tattoo artist and his tattoo designs were plastered on clothing, hats, etc. I’m sure if he had ha any idea how it was going to become a douche magnet he wouldn’t have allowed it. The fact the he regained control speaks to his desire to at least make some effort to change. He needs to discontinue it all together.

  19. becky says:

    My co-worker in Brazil wears ed Hardy shirts too and he doesn’t know any better either. I am always so tempted to say something but there is no nice way to tell someone how douchey their shirts are… It kills me though. He’s a chubby, light-skinned physicist, so it’s really odd.

    • Malificent says:

      Hmmmm… I sense an alter ego peaking out. Chubby physicist who dreams of being a Harley-riding babe magnet? I think it’s actually kind of sweet.

    • MonicaQ says:

      My boss is a skinny 45+ guy that’s balding with an 11 year old daughter, plays Everquest…and wears Ed Hardy and Affliction WITH JEAN SHORTS.

      He’s a brilliant programmer, knows more languages than I could even begin to fathom and he’s snarky-sweet. Sounds like they both need an intervention.

    • gg says:

      Hey, I’m still trying to find a way to approach the subject with cowboy-boot-wearing goobers with pleated khakis. When they think they’re cool, it’s like emasculating them when you tell them it’s the opposite. Until the day some insensitive git yells that the mullet and pants have got to go!

    • Marie Antoinette Jr. says:

      Maybe it’s not that he doesn’t “know better”, it could be that he just doesn’t care.
      I’ve known quite a few smart people (geniuses) in my life and they just don’t care about fashion. They value brains, not looks. So with clothes they usually just wear what they feel comfortable in or whatever is easiest. Maybe someone gave him the T-shirt–and it’s just a functional piece of clothing to him, not a fashion statement at all.

  20. Roxy says:

    Ugly t shirts worn by uglier douchebags! :(

  21. Emily C. says:

    People are blissfully unaware of how they look everywhere but L.A., because looks don’t matter. Actually, they’re a lot more worried in the South than in Manhattan, if makeup use is any indication.

  22. Lucy says:

    I think now, Affliction is the new Ed Hardy…there will always be a new Douche-wear D’jour just around the corner. Stop trying to blame someone for your crappy trend finally flopping.

  23. lucy2 says:

    I’m sure he’s still making money – the world will never be in short supply of douchey guys.

    It sucks for him that the other guy went bonkers with the company, but…research a little and know who you’re signing contracts with.

  24. BrendaGT says:

    Please don’t label people from the south in one breath.

    I am from the south and always thought this brand was dochey. I would never wear that crap.

    I actually never see anyone wearing that brand.

  25. Misery says:

    It really pisses me off that Ed Hardy clothing has become such a “douchebag brand”.

    I absolutely love those prints. It’s my kind of rock ‘n roll style. But now it’s ruined forever and it makes me want to cry. It was an awesome idea that ended up completely douchefied and there’s no going back.

    I realise of course that those prints are definitely not everyone’s cup of tea to begin with, but now it’s just gotten to the point where people get judged by these shirts and whatnot, not because people find them ugly, but because of what it stands for.

  26. Babalon says:

    “…after getting caught cheating on his bitch wife…”

    I’ve no love for her either, but damn. You out for blood today, Boo?

  27. Ally8 says:

    I saw Ed Hardy junk at the Dollar Store this week. So yeah, you don’t get more downmarket than that.

  28. Dedrie says:

    That is all the thanks.. I’ll give Jon credit for..

  29. Jade says:

    Title already cracks me up. Will Givenchy say the same thing about Kim Kardashian in future ?

  30. Nerd Alert says:

    LOL so now I know what to call those “douchey busy, like, sketched screen tees” I could never define before. That’s funny. They’re so ugly! I had NO idea they were a product of Ed Hardy, who’s a really good tattoo artist. Note to Ed: art doesn’t always translate well from one canvas to the next. Get out of the clothing game. Even Avril’s designs are better.

  31. Claudia says:

    Ed Hardy clothing brand was douchey way before Gosselin. Rightfully so, the clothes and prints were hideous.

  32. MonicaQ says:

    He’s a great tattoo-ist. There’s a reason why there was a 3 year waiting list to get artwork from him but GOD does it make for some ugly clothes.

    Personally I’ve never been a fan of the Sailor Jerry/Ed Hardy style stuff (probably because being the shade of a Snickers bar means I am limited in my tattoo color selection without constant touch ups) but that doesn’t make it bad. The clothes though, yeeeeeshhhh.

  33. C says:

    Maybe he can reinvent it, like Burberry?
    Ed Hardy clothes aren’t my personal taste, but I feel bad that it has turned so douchey, but that’s what happens sometimes when you can’t control who wears your clothes…
    I remember when chavs ruined burberry lol fortunately they took their brand back and made it classy again.
    These things may sound elitist but they matter. Always have. no one wants to be associated with douchbags and chavs.

  34. Adrien says:

    My stepmom gave me a set of Christian Audigier bath/body set including a perfume several years ago. WHY? Maybe she thought they were badass or she gave them as a joke. Maybe she found them on the sale bin or misread it as Ed Harris. Idk.
    Surprisingly, they smell good, at least on me. I got compliments and am often asked what fragrance I was wearing but I’m too embarrassed to admit it’s Love and Luck by Ed Hardy Christian Audigier.

  35. gefeylich says:

    Ha ha ha ha! Gosselin was “the nail in the coffin?” How about the fact that your clothes are ridiculous, tasteless, stupidly designed dreck, Hardy?

    Don’t blame poor Jon for your failures – he’s going to have enough problems dealing with his 9 thousand damaged kids and their therapy when they’re finally released from his screeching harpy of an ex-wife.

  36. Anastasia says:

    Jon Gosselin isn’t even a public figure anymore, so where is this coming from? Does Ed Hardy need a scapegoat?

    I doubt Jon Gosselin cares about this mess.

  37. paranormalgirl says:

    all this makes me want to do is get inked again. Maybe something American Classic.

  38. Boom boom says:

    i had a pair of ed hardy shoes about five years ago , bought from macys .. I liked the design of a juaguar underneath black netting , it sounds flashy but they were pretty toned down and subdued . About 4 months later , it was ed hardy on everything and everyone, with the prints getting flashier and uglier . I think the original ed hardy shirts were simple with just his tatoo designs on it . then the rhinestones and weird flashy stuff was piled on and it went from simple tattoo flash prints to guady club wear . Thats when they lost me . I

  39. nancypants says:

    Just adding:
    Several years ago, I really didn’t even know who Ed Hardy was but I noticed a lot of old ladies – yeah, older than me – wearing Ed Hardy sweatsuits around here in our town and the sweatsuits were BRIGHT and all decorative and looked like they were wearing baggy tattoos which is fine if that’s the look they are going for with gray hair.

    I thought they were the 2009 version of The Golden Girls.

    Then, a young customer came in one day and I mentioned that I liked his shirt and I couldn’t tell that is was Ed Hardy and he told me it was but he was just wearing it because his mom gave it to him and he was traveling and had run out of clean shirts.

    We chatted a bit longer and I told him that I didn’t know Ed Hardy was so popular and he said,

    “You should see Arizona. All the old ladies down there wear it.”

    That right there will kill your brand and, yes, John G. probably did have something to do with it too.

  40. Suzy says:

    I”m sure the decline of the brand had NOTHING to do with the fact that they are butt-fugly shirts…

  41. Noinin says:

    There was a documentary here in France about Christian Audigier, and seriously that guy is a mega douche and has always been. It showed his birthday, and how he had set up champagne fountains and had managed to make Michael Jackson show up for a nano-second…. I don’t think Gosselin killed the brand, I think it was not aimed at classy people in the first place.

  42. Melissa says:

    It was douchey WAY before Jon Gosselin started wearing it.

    Him wearing Ed Hardy shirts was just the natural progression of things.

  43. allons-y alonso says:

    ‘I love your Ed Hardy T-Shirt’, said no-one ever.

  44. Chrissy says:

    He might be a talented tattoo artist, but the shirts are tacky. Most shirts with giant pictures on them, no matter how artistic, are tacky. I personally am tired of seeing tattoos on all the kindergarten mothers at my child’s school. When almost everyone has a tattoo, how can it be that original?

  45. Mayday says:

    boo-hoo, someone took my ugly ass designs and made me a pile of money to roll around in every day.

    sucker, please.

  46. MissTiss says:

    …”although I live in the south where people can be blissfully unaware of how they look”

    THIS had me rolling.

  47. Beatriz says:

    Damn, it must really suck for him to see his work used like that. I mean, yes, it is his fault, he should have never sold the rights to his name/work, but still…

  48. bobalouski says:

    A rich douche or a poor douche…douches just the same…

  49. junegorilla says:

    Ed Hardy is really a brilliant artist. one of my pals has a pre-Audiger tat and it’s gorgeous. I love the designs and honestly the image of Mr. Gosselin stops me dead in my tracks. Along with the brand being cheapened by Ed Hardy air fresheners, umbrellas and probably douches. I hope that he can relaunch somehow. He is no Picasso for certain. But he is miles beyond a Thomas Kinkaid…

  50. Dawned says:

    My teenage daughters stopped wearing their Ed Hardy shirts because of him. He definitely made the line low brow.

  51. Liz says:

    Ehh. I’m late on this, and wouldn’t be shocked if this has been said multiple times now…. BUUUUUUUUT, I’m pretty sure being Ed Hardy is what put the final nail in the coffin. Jon Gosshoweveryouspellit was just a symptom of that.

    I’m definitely no fan of his, but seriously, call a spade a spade. Ed Hardy everything is awful ugly and I’d venture to guess is the cause of any and all world conflict.

  52. Dommy Dearest says:

    Actually Hardy.
    Your clothes are douche apparel. And when people figured out how incredibly douchey they looked while wearing your brand it died. So sir, your style killed your brand.
    Let’s not pass the blame off brosef.

  53. C says:

    I remember when the Ed Hardy trucker hats were popular. They were like the early hipsters of 2003-2005. Every hipster or ‘cool’ person was wearing them.

  54. Hakura says:

    I was just curious, so I used my browser’s ‘find’ function to search the entire page.

    So far, the word ‘douche’ has been used 40 times. xD

  55. Str8Shooter says:

    I made the mistake of buying one of his overpriced t-shirts once. Washed it once and the shape of the thing was horrible after. Cheap quality.

    Sorry, Senor Oompa Loompa. The lack of quality of your products is what did you in.