Are tattoos becoming more acceptable?
It seems the fashion world is embracing a more open attitude towards tattoos in recent times. Not only do tattoos decorate the bodies of celebrities, they have been seen all over high fashion editorials and runways. Marc Jacobs apparently has a tattoo of Sponge Bob Square Pants, Kate Moss has a pair of swallow tattoos and model of the moment Cara Delavigne has her initials tattooed on her hand. I nstead of hiding them they form part of their image or the style page they are gracing.
You only have to walk down Leeds high street to see tattoos adorning the bodies of the young and old and not just those from the creative or fashion industries. Whether a celebrity or not, tattoos often come with personal meaning, a way of pushing the boundaries and extension of our personal style. The fashion industry is a reflection of global trends, so if the industry is embracing them then are they no longer the mark of the outsider?
I have three tattoos and plan to get more. But I am in the process of getting one removed. Not, I stress, because I don’t like tattoos but because it is a removal of a cover up of a reckless teenage decision (is there such thing as a good cover-up?). The mere mention of my tattoos are verboten to my father. He is of the school of thought where all tattoos are bad and belong to thugs and criminals. His opinion on ink could be said to be similar to that of many others, but with the increasing popularity of tattoos, has this vehement dislike, wavered at all?
I was keen to get a professional’s opinion so I spoke to Ben Vickers, tattoo artist from Red Tattoo and Piercing. Ben has been with the studio who are based in the Corn Exchange in Leeds for a year. Does he think they have become more acceptable? “In Leeds there are just a lot more people with tattoos so it may seem that way here. I think many people just want what celebrities have. He believes the main drivers of the increase in popularity are internet and the rise of programs like Miami Ink. But when I asked if there was still a stigma associated with tattoos he said replied “Yes I think so – I have even had people cross the road before when I have been walking along”.
Derek Charnley works at Leeds Harvey Nichols. Proud owner of a tasteful full sleeve tattoo, Derek covers his for his job. Despite working for one of the most fashion forward retailers in the world the dress code remains the same for that of any other professional and predominantly customer facing business. Dress smart and no tattoos on show. Instead of adopting a defiant attitude, Derek covers his tattoo with long sleeves as part of his daily routine and acknowledges that it’s sometimes the reality of work life and he has no problem with this requirement.
Of course it depends on who you speak to as to what the answer to this question is, but It does seem that whilst we would like to think of them as being more acceptable and more and more of us are having them, there is definitely still a stigma associated with having a tattoo be it at work or walking down the street.
So what if you do want to get your ink removed? Maybe the reminder of that trip to Magaluf from 2002 is no longer that funny or the initials of the ex causing problems with the new partner? Ben was Keen to point out lazer is the best option when it comes to removals, but what about the alternatives- how well do they work?
Make a note to catch up with Shlur ‘s fashion page next time when I visit a local non laser tattoo removal clinic when I follow up my own experience of having one removed.