Tatt a tatt tatt…..
The market is changing.
Nike’s decision this week to pull a line of leggings and sports bras inspired by Samoan tribal tattoos following an outcry from Polynesian people marks a peculiarly sensitive moment in the dark and dirty cultural history of tattoos.
Once a tribal rite of passage, a signifier of dangerous associations, or a mark of freakish deviance, the tattoo is now commercialized, ironic, often tacky or maudlin, rarely edgy, and widely available at low cost, all of which bodes ill for the future of ink.
“On a global scale, tattoos are more common now than they ever have been before,” said Nina Jablonski, professor of anthropology at Penn State, and author of Skin: A Natural History. It is difficult to tell if we are at peak tattoo, she said, the point of maximum output before a steep and terminal drop in production, comparable to the theory of peak oil. But the…
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