Celebrity and fashion have a few things in common. One of those things: You can be super hot on Monday, and D list on Tuesday. One day, you’re sipping Champagne in Cannes. The next, you’re in a gutter crying in your malt liquor.
At one point, Jon Gosselin was actually on a yacht in Cannes. And what do you wear when you’re hanging out on a fancy boat in a fancy place? An Ed Hardy t-shirt, of course. According to the man behind those ugly shirts, that’s exactly what led to the downfall of his momentarily successful clothing company.
Back in 2009, the Gosselin marriage was a mess. Once the darlings of reality TV, Jon and Kate had become fodder for tabloid magazines with Jon dating his then-girlfriend Hailey Glassman.
Meanwhile, Ed Hardy clothing, with help from French businessman Christian Audigier, had somehow worked its way to the forefront of fashion, appearing on the backs of celebrities like Madonna.
Next thing you know, Jon Gosselin and his girlfriend are on a yacht with Audigier in the South of France. Gosselin is photographed in the gaudy garb, the pictures are beamed around the world, and the two are inextricably linked. Gosselin is a jerk, and he’s wearing a t-shirt that makes him look like an even bigger jerk.
“That Jon Gosselin thing was the nail in the coffin,” Hardy, a tattoo artist and aficionado, 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.” He accuses Audigier of being a sucker for any celebrity of any kind.
Nowadays, Hardy is peddling a memoir, Wear your Dreams: My Life in Tattoos, and, after getting the rights back to his brand in 2010, is trying to revive it. At one point, the brand was “grossing $700 million,” the article says. It’s so funny and so sad Jon Gosselin. Wherever you are.
But all that aside, this really is a case of Ed Hardy letting his brand get away from him. The article says that Audigier had licensed the brand out to the point that Hardy was walking into bodegas and finding Ed Hardy lighters for sale. His designs were being altered, and Audigier had added his name to the goods more prominently than Hardy’s.
Even in this Wild West atmosphere of fame, entertainment, and the media, there are ways to exert control over your brand and the direction it takes. Maybe Hardy, who is now 68 years old, really was clueless about how all of this works. But step one is to be a hands-on participant. Maybe he was so busy doodling, he lost track.
Update, Original post 6/21: Gosselin had been noticeably quiet since Hardy proposed his theory. Now we have an update on Gosselin’s whereabouts, thanks to VH1’s show The Gossip Table. They managed to get the MIA former reality dad on the phone for a few moments this week, and he says he now lives in the woods and put his partying ways behind him. With no access to TV he didn’t even know that Kimye weren’t married, but he offered them advice on the new baby, saying they should refrain from putting little North on camera.
But with reference to Hardy, Gosselin says he “gave all that to his mom.” Then he threatened to come back to TV, via Dancing With the Stars if they ever asked. Yikes. Full video here.