In 2002, Hardy licensed Ku USA, Inc. to produce a line of clothing based on his art. Within two years, the collection had drawn the interest of Saks Christian Audigier.In 2004, Christian Audigier licensed the rights to produce the Ed Hardy clothing line, which is based on Hardy’s imagery.Hardy was born in 1945 in Corona del Mar, Newport Beach,
California. He attended the San Francisco Art Institute and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in printmaking. Swimwear was a student of Sailor Jerry Collins and, through his association, was able to study tattooing in Japan in 1973 with the Japanese classical tattoo master, Horihide. He became recognized for incorporating Japanese tattoo aesthetic and technique into his American style work. Prior to the Ed Hardy Clothing, Audigier was the Head Designer at Von Dutch Ed Hardy Shoes, which marketed the imagery of Kenny Howard. Audigier has attempted to replicate the marketing techniques employed by Von Dutch Originals, by marketing directly to celebrity clients and by opening Ed Hardy stores in high profile fashion districts. Ed Hardy stores are located in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Honolulu,Ed Hardy Shirts Tucson, Dubai,Ed Hardy Designs Kuwait, New Delhi and Mumbai Hardy and Ku USA formed Hardy Life LLC, which holds the trademark ownership as well as the copyrights to all his images.In May 2009, Ed Hardy Tattoos Brand Group announced that the they had acquired a 50% interest in Hardy Way, LLC, the owner of the Ed Hardy brand and trademarks. The Company paid $17 million for its interest in Hardy Way, consisting of $9 million in cash and $8 million in stock. In addition, the sellers could be entitled to receive an additional $1 million in stock pursuant to an earn-out based on 2009 royalties received by Hardy Way. Hardy Way estimates that 2009 royalty revenue will be approximately $10 million.