This has got to be one of the most dramatic transformations I have ever witnessed from an international brand in India. A few years ago, when American tattoo-art-inspired brand Ed Hardy set up shop in Mumbai, I noticed a curious phenomenon. A few flamboyantly fashionable gents began to sport Ed Hardy’s signature brand of tattoo-print tee-shirts, studded, some with the brand emblem, the tiger, explicitly shown off. Add to this, a range of ripped and washed, ‘statement’ denims. Let me give the credit where it’s due – few international brands managed to carve a niche for themselves in the Indian man’s wardrobe like Ed Hardy did. The designs, which albeit flamboyant and often garish, breathed a new sense of confidence in men who dared. Let me now give you my personal opinion – Ed Hardy was just not my style. And hence, the brand never managed to convert me into a customer. I was just not a fan of the whole grunge, mildly subversive brand of fashion that it was selling. It was, to put it simply, just too over-the-top for me.
Cut to last month, when the team at Ed Hardy invited me to check out their new collection, tweaked discreetly for India. The invitation was, as you would expect, met with a puzzled reaction. Why would I come into a store and write about a brand whose clothes I would never wear. In the spirit of supporting men’s fashion in the country, I did accept the invite. What followed was an absolute surprised.
I walked into the Ed Hardy store at Mumbai’s Palladium Mall, only to sense a brand new spirit in the brand. Things seemed to have toned down, styles seem to be more wearable. Did I just spot a classic white shirt right there at the entrance? Oh yes, I did! I tried it on and it’s absolutely fabulous. Wait a minute, is that a pair of classic beige chinos I see hanging there? Oh yes, it is.
Could this be true? Had the guys at Ed Hardy conducted a major overhaul of what’s on offer to the Indian customer? YES. And I couldn’t be happier. Let me show you some of my awesome finds at the store.
I chose three things from the store – a classic white shirt, with a subtle tattoo print embroidered near the chest, a light cotton jacket in sky blue and a pair of skinny denims, with a very discreet ‘tiger motif’ printed on the fabric.
My verdict: Ed Hardy’s new store in Mumbai had me raving. What’s on offer is significantly more sophisticated, elegant and wearable. But make no mistake, the brand has not neglected to show off its heritage and culture – subtle elements of it’s raison d’etre can be seen in even the most discreet of pieces. And that’s exactly how I like it.
If you are as surprised as me that THIS is the new Ed Hardy, I suggest you make a trip to their store to check out what’s on offer. You won’t be disappointed! I wasn’t. I can’t wait to see what the upcoming collection’s bring. Kudos team Hardy!