From 70s Bad Boys to a Universal Fashion Tool: The Evolution of Tattoos

What do David Beckham, Rihanna, Cara Delevingne and Lady Gaga share in common? All have a large part of their body covered with tattoos of all kinds and carefully cultivate their style for years. And yet, before becoming a fashion accessory, tattoos were initially affiliated with bad boys and therefore, have been hidden for a long time. Nowadays, one in three young adults have a tattoo. The popularity of this practice is such that we can now speak of it as a fashion phenomenon. Back on a tidal wave of ink and patterns.

Long regarded as the symbol of bad boys, convicts or bikers, tattoos have experienced a real boom in the last fifteen years. In the 70s, the American tattoo artist Mark Mahoney was forced to tattoo in bossed territory by the mafia as the law prohibited his activity. As an opposition, nowadays, actresses, singers, footballers and people on the street proudly display their tattoos. Similarly, salons are increasing and those who have the privilege of tattooing celebrities shout it from the rooftops. For instance, the American tattoo artist “Bang Bang”, who has created artwork for Rihanna and Justin Bieber, makes his customers wait six months before working on them due to high requests and long waiting lists.

Proof that tattoos now have their place almost everywhere: fashion brands love it!  Where once a tattooed model struggled to find work, today it is an asset. Recently, the brand Tag Heuer used Cara Delevingne’s finger lion tattoo in order to promote their new watch collection. Similarly, the prestigious Dior fashion house even surrounded itself by two very tattooed muses: Johnny Depp and Rihanna.

But is getting tattooed really a good idea?

Nowadays, people mainly get tattoos for their significance, whether to mark an accomplishment, a memory, a key name… Others, and mostly teenagers, get tattoos to look different and rebel against their surroundings. Finally, some may use tattoos to cover up scars. For all these reasons, it allows a person to express themself, send a message and make a fashion statement. However, you have to remember that a tattoo is permanent, which means you might not like a tattoo that you have inked today in ten years!

The other problem is that tattooed employees still get discriminated against, especially in the UK. Academics from King’s College proved in their research that tattoos are still considered unacceptable in many workplaces. 33 people were interviewed anonymously and one of them said that the senior manager told him “how stupid are you, at what point did you think a tattoo on your head was going to be acceptable?’ (Source: BBC News).

So, ready to get tattooed?



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