A fashion trend that surely everyone in the western world must of noticed is the large number of tattoos people are getting. Hell there are even television shows based on tattoos these days (I am thinking of you Miami Ink). On the runway tattoos generally are still a no-no but look to any sporting field or social setting and tattoos are everywhere.
Now fashion is an industry usually dominated by the majority opinion, and as we know its an industry that changes often. Where tattoos fit into this is still somewhat of an unknown although I have my hunches. Because the tattoo is permanent, unwavering and a reflection of a single point of time, I believe they will always be a fringe element of fashion design. Designers will incorporate tattoos to reflect or add to their designs but will never use the tattoo as a focus of the design.
What concerns me more broadly is the number of people getting tattoos and the lack of thought that goes into their designs. I have seen enough old sailors, and been in the fashion and beauty industries long enough to know that taste change and so does your skin. My hunch is that there popularity will somewhat diminish as the effects of the tattoo generation become clearer in the years to come and that the laser tattoo removal procedure will become very popular.
On a design point of view however, tattoos are an excellent source of inspiration. My particular favorite inspiration comes from the traditional warrior tattoos, which create beautiful shapes and patterns. I also recommend using temporary tattoos in your showcase, portfolio or show, as a unique accessory to your designs, particularly if your into the art and grunge fashion.