BCC: What led you to Don Ed Hardy?
Audigier: I had started doing research on tattoo artists and his name was coming back every time, so I just decided to contact him. I was not even sure if he was alive or not. I contacted him and he called me back and here we are today.
BCC: Where we are today is your brands — Ed Hardy, Christian Audigier and SMET — are projected to surpass $80 million in revenue this year. What makes the Ed Hardy line, in particular, so unique?
Audigier: Our clothes are comfortable, they're good looking, and they are always fresh. We are doing 2,000 pieces each time. If you have the 'Love Kills' in black, we started at 2,000 pieces distributed around the world. You have sort of an exquisite T-shirt. Maybe the rest is delivered to Japan and the rest in Spain and you're going to have 600 pieces in this country. You're not going to have to change at the club for wearing the same clothes as your friend.
BCC: How have you been able to take the Ed Hardy brand to such great heights so quickly?
Audigier: Focus. I believe in focus. That is the most important. If we work, then we all produce every year. The art work that we reproduce every year, the energy of this company, and the friendships that we have with so many celebrities. Look at this magazine for example (he picks up and flips through the pages of People Magazine). They are branding the name, you know.
BCC: You certainly have a long list of A-list celebs wearing your designs. Is there anybody out there that you still covet?
Audigier: The Dali Lama. I would like to put a shirt on him.
BCC: Every designer hopes that their clothing finds itself onto a celebrity, but yet you seem to make it look simple.
Audigier: They don't have the friendships that I have to get the celebrities. We have a big book now. We are nice to these people and they're looking good in our clothes and they come back to us, because I believe we have a better product than the other ones. We don't pay Madonna, for example. She's wearing my stuff every single day of the week. I believe we don't have to push these people. When you give away your shirt, you are not sure if that person is going to wear it to a premiere or on the street. But today what I see is the celebrities like the stuff. We are doing a lot of new stuff. Every two weeks, there's a new collection. Basically, it means they keep fresh, they stay trendy. And Madonna is so much in the press, she needs to look good.
BCC: It's Von Dutch all over again.
Audigier: I always follow the same rules as I always have — taking care of my friends and celebrities, and sending them my stuff and inviting them over here.
BCC: Do you know in advance or are you ever surprised by who is sporting your trademark clothes?
Audigier: I pretend that is not a surprise, you know. But with Madonna, we have a special relationship. What I know very well is she is wearing these shirts because she really loves them and she's asking for more all the time.
BCC The stars seem to have aligned for you. People want to wear what they see on their favorite stars, and the fascination with pop culture and gossip has never been greater.
Audigier: I'm using that, you know — 'In Gossip We Trust' — that is my new logo. 'In Gossip We Trust' — that is the sum of my success. Because without Britney Spears or without the amazing Madonna and all of that...I'm just blessed by God.