Ed Hardy was a "thing" of the early 2000s. Sported on the likes of wild-and-crazy celebutantes—think Tara Reid, Heidi Montag, and Paris Hilton in their party girl heydays—the line's trucker hats and blinged-out tees (helmed by French designer Chrisitan Audigier) became a staple of Hollywood's elite.
This past week, Ed Hardy, the 68-year-old tattoo artist-cum-fashion mogul, blamed not the out-of-control socialites, but rather celebrity hanger-on Jon Gosselin for the demise of his fashion empire.
"That Jon Gosslin thing was the nail in the coffin," Ed Hardy recently told the New York Post. "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."
There Gosselin was, during his brief 15 minutes of semi-fame—traveling, yachting (with Audigier himself), and motorcycling—all while clad in Hardy's tattoo-inspired clothes. Plus, with rumors of a collaborated children's line between Gosselin and Audigier circling in 2009, it seemed like Gosselin and the brand were new BFFs.
"Christian [Audigier] worships celebrities so much, he will get next to anyone who is famous for anything," said Hardy.
In a day and age where celebrity endorsement can make or break a brand (think the rise of L.K. Bennett thanks to Kate Middleton, or the increasing popularity of Michelle Obama–endorsed American designers like Jason Wu), the ancient myth that any publicity is good publicity may not exactly hold true. Just ask Ed Hardy.