While the Fashion Editor at Large has been relaxing in foreign climes, I decided to use some of my spare time to get tattooed. (Recovery time is important - blood, bandages and antiseptic cream aren't a good look for fashion business meetings.)
To me, this is a normal activity - I now have five tattoos in total, really enjoy the whole process and will no doubt add to my collection as time goes on. This is where the Fash Ed at Large and I differ, because as far as I know she isn't concealing any body art under those elegant outfits! The fashion industry has completely changed its views on tattooing over the last years, and they are now de rigeur (this month's Vogue covergirl, Freja, has 16.) In fact, it would be easy to say that it is now more 'normal' to have a tattoo than to not have one.
Just a selection of Freja's tattoos
The Guardian reported this week that 1 in 5 British adults have some sort of permanent ink - that's a huge percentage considering the older generations still consider them the domain of jailbirds, servicemen and generally shady types. My own parents were horrified when I got my very first one - a tiny star on my right wrist. I think their exact reaction went something along the lines of 'trampy, common, awful' and 'concentration camp victim'! But seven years later, they now have two children covered in tattoos - and have somehow come to accept and even appreciate the artworks, even if they aren't to their personal taste. When you see SamCam swanning into No. 10 with a dolphin on your ankle, you know times have changed.
Sam Cam's Not-so-Conservative dolphin
However, that truly naff dolphin tatt brings me to my point - everyone may be getting tattoos, but that doesn't mean they are necessarily getting them done well. Just like all creative industries, there is a tattoo hierarchy - some artists are just better than others, just like illustrators, photographers and designers.
There is also an age old saying that states "good tattoos are not cheap, and cheap tattoos are not good." It is so true - if you are going to get something on your skin forever, this is a good time to employ the Grazia 'cost per wear' strategy, and not to go for the budget option.
It is my firm belief that if you are going to get a tattoo, you need to commit to it, and do it properly! I am a huge fan of the old style (traditional hearts, swallows and pin up girls) and have wanted a rose design for about a year. They are a classic tattoo motif, something I knew I would love forever.
The vintage postcard that started my rose obsession
I knew it needed to be a big, full, bloom, and so choosing the placement was tricky - I almost booked in to have two, one on either shoulder, but decided against that area is so often obscured by clothing.
My forearms already have three tattoos, so I figured one more couldn't hurt. It took a long time for me to find the right artist for the job - Stefano, at Frith Street in Soho - but when I had, he agreed it was the right place for his design.
The studio in Frith Street
Getting a new tattoo is always scary - yes, they do really hurt. Luckily adrenalin distracts you from the majority of the pain, which is best described as a really sharp scratch accompanied by a dull ache from the vibrations from the gun. Nice. I completely trusted Stefano, which helped, and after two and a half hours of grimacing, nail biting and inane giggling (I laugh when I'm nervous!) I now have a beautiful rose.
The latest addition to my body
Tattoo fans like me get a huge thrill from the whole process, and the euphoria after you are done is incredible. Good tattoos look lovely, in my humble opionion. They do make life more exciting, and everytime I look at it I smile. Now I can't wait for the Fash Ed's return, to get the ultimate verdict!
For more on the Fashion Junior's tattoo obsession, click here:
(Images: Daily Mail, George Langford, Frith Street)