Tattoos. Once synonymous with trouble, crime, and danger, they are now working their way onto runways and ASOS models – but how? Heidi Quill analyses the rise and fall of inked flesh in the fashion world.
In the past few years, the body positivity campaign has been gaining more and more focus on the fashion and beauty industries. A specific branch of this concerns the unattainable and almost inhuman beauty expectations, which are created by airbrushed and photoshopped images that we are being shown every single day.
As a response to this, online retailers such as Missguided and ASOS have taken a pledge not to retouch their models, meaning that cellulite, stretch marks and tattoos are left for us all to witness…and to make us feel just a bit more real and normal.
This means that tattoos have more of a presence in online fashion retail than ever before, almost becoming part of an ensemble. For example, a model, someone whose job it is to be visually beautiful, has a tattoo. It becomes an element of their beauty, perhaps making it more desirable to others.
Simultaneously, tattoos have been losing their stigma as a piece of gang-like iconography, becoming more a piece of body art, or physical memory, even. No more will the simple presence of a tattoo lower your chances of getting a
Since these images have been gracing our phone screens, we’ve become more aware of tattooed models and celebrities. In fact, in some campaigns, tattoos have been front and centre. Take David Beckham’s underwear line for H&M – with a substantial sleeve, back and abdomen tattoos on full display, Beckham is shown modeling the underwear, the tattoos becoming a huge focal point of the image. Almost a selling point, even.
No longer are tattoos being hidden due to awkward associations, but they’re out in the open, even being shown off within the fashion industry. Whilst to some tattoos are still a bold choice, times are changing. And, as we millennials continue to make bold decisions about our bodies and appearances, we also continue to embrace ourselves and others – both in the world of fashion, but also in day-to-day life, the job market and online. Something worth bearing in mind perhaps.
Six female celebrities who are proud of their tattoos
1. Eve Salvail
Perhaps the most notoriously eye-grabbing is Eve Salvail’s dragon tattoo, which she had inked on her head. Obtained at 18 while travelling in Japan, the model shaved her head in order to receive the infamous dragon. It may even have been because of this that Jean Paul-Gaultier took such an immediate shine to her.
2. Cara Delevingne
Cara Delevingne’s more subtle yet equally ferocious lion tattoo on her
Of course, Rihanna’s countless hand and finger tattoos have inspired pop stars, models, and civilians the like.
4. Bella Hadid
Bella Hadid’s teensy angel wings detailing each ankle have been revealed to
5. Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande continued the theme of attaching meanings beyond the ink with her tiny bumble-bee imprinted behind her ear. Said to
6. Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato demonstrated her spontaneity with a tattoo of a smiley face on her pinky finger. Posting the image on Instagram she captioned it ‘Cause life’s too short not to tattoo your pinky’. Couldn’t agree more!
Whether fun or meaningful, these tattoos no longer demonstrate a tough or jailbait lifestyle. But a memory, a feeling or a milestone. And that’s much nicer.
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