Sunday, November 2, 2014

Tattooed Youth: Exploring Fashion's Influence on Gen Y's Addiction to Ink

Nick Wooster || Image via Streetfsn

We are the Instagram generation of thumb pushers who crave social acceptance from as little as a like on instagram to a reblog on tumblr. For a generation that's obsessed with celebrities and instant fame, nothing guarantees a short cut to these things more than tattoos. A few decades back, tattoos had a lot more meaning, but these days, things as reckless as a drunken night out can leave a gen y'er with a full tattoo sleeve by the time he/she is sober.  Is fashion to blame for this new tattoo craze? 

Philip Plein SS14 Underwear Campaign shot by Steven Klein

As a generation that also likes to throw blame, the fashion industry and its media is a good place to dump all of that. The main culprit however would be the reduced stigma associated with having visible tattoos. Tattoos are powerful, personal things that its bearer wants to show the world. It used to be reserved for rock heads, sailors or soldiers but now there's a massive shift and it's for everyone. 

The main difference between gen x and gen y's ink addiction is the pace of adoption. Gen y thanks to social media and the internet have been exposed to tattoos from different artists by a few clicks on their mobiles. For gen y it's all a lot easier as most of their opinion formers and role models sport visible tattoos. The likes of David Beckham, Rihanna, Cara Delavigne all sport visible tattoos and are still well respected and successful in their respective endeavors. 

Pitti Uomo Streetstyle via Streetfsn

With so many young people interested in fashion more than ever, with the democratization of the industry thanks to the internet, the amount of influence the industry possesses is a lot stronger than it was decades ago. A few years back, not too far, many models were not allowed to have visible tattoos if they wanted to work with big brands. They would even have make up artists cover up tattoos in other discrete parts of the models body. These days designers and label cast models specifically with tattoos for their shows or ad campaigns. Nicola Formichetti at Diesel and Philipp Plein are notorious for inked models. 

Then there's the streetstyle craze where you stand a chance of getting snapped by photographers of major fashion magazines if you sport flashy tattoos and clothes. This more than validates the cool factor that tattoos have now. Popular streetstyle peacocks like Nick Wooster is constantly being snapped in his cool garb and vibe which his tattoos contribute to. 

So yeah, fashion's influence is quite substantial. 

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