Temporary Tattoo Revolution


Written by Charlie Cole
10 Tuesday 10th July 2012

We all know how the humble temporary tattoo came to be. The free giveaway from I Heart My Pony magazine, the bubblegum wrapper that magically 'worked' as a transfer too, the 20p dispenser that swallowed your money and never gave you the one you wanted. That temporary tattoo has fortunately been sent to the incinerator, and from the embers has risen a phoenix of awesomeness. 

Skin-T's QR code

Cast aside your preconceptions about temporary tattoos.  No longer do you have to struggle with a lame skull and crossbones motif with a poor adhesive backing. No longer do you have to battle that grim slime the paper leaves behind. No longer are you left with a half applied, grainy image that, from afar, looks more like a fungal infection than a tattoo. The temporary tattoo has been given a fresh facelift by a few select creative teams with an eye for quirky, satirical and completely adorable patterns and designs.

Chanel S/S10

Ever since Chanel debuted their temporary tattoo collection back in 2010, the trend has been gradually building popularity. In almost every collection since, most recently in their S/S12 cruise line, the infamous French label has used their double C motif to adorn the bodies of their models, and every designer worth their salt has been quick to follow suit. Vivienne Westwood drew provocative slogans over her models’ arms and faces for her A/W12 collection, whilst Louis Vuitton went tribal with collar-like designs printed over their boys’ necks for their most recent menswear line.

All of this designer talk is very well and good, but it’s the online tattoo moguls that have the fashion world all of a jitter. Unique, vintage quintessentially British designs have been transformed into covetable, reasonably priced, temporary tattoos.

Lydia Leith's Sporting Persuits

For the coolest tattoo doodles, look no further than the wonderfully patriotic Lydia Leith. There is nothing this girl hasn’t created. Royal Wedding sick bags? Check. Queen Liz jelly moulds? Check. Temporary tattoos in the shape of shuttlecocks? Check. Lydia Leith harnesses key figures from British history and fashions them into truly bizarre skin transfers. Having created every design imaginable, from traditional Victorian sporting figures (think fencing and good old fashioned boxing), to the Queen’s carriage and corgis, Lydia Leith has unexpectedly tapped into a niche and novel demographic: The trendy patriot.

Lydia Leith's Corgi

Across the pond we have Tattly, the makers of adorable, child like illustrations that you can slap onto your skin. Crudely drawn forest animals, vintage bicycles, retro cameras and a smorgasbord of hilarious quotes make up the never-ending tattoo selection from the Tattly team. For those with a geekishly- keen eye for graphic design, typographic alphabets in a range of fonts are available to make up your own slogans, whilst fluffy bunny wabbits can be found for those who are slightly younger at heart.

Tattly tattoo selection

When it comes to the temporary tattoo, no one could be cooler than the super-niche, underground team that is WibWabWub. Based in Thailand, the designer duo creates outrageously girlish, multicoloured glitter bonanzas to print onto your skin. Unicorns, American flags and broken hearts are central to most of their designs, with more than a hint of retro-kitsch fuelling their garish prints. Unfortunately you will have to travel to Thailand to be WibWabWubed, but considering just how awesome these transfers are, it’s almost worth paying for the flights just to be the coolest poor person in the UK.

WibWabWub collection

Back on home soil, we have Skin-T, the producer of ‘Tattoos for Pussies’. Annie O, the creative brain behind the brand, fell in love with the friendly creature that is the temporary tattoo and took it upon herself to branch out from childish transfers and the horrendous art of vajazzling. Wickedly rude slogans and intricate designs from nature make Skin-T the coolest and weirdest producer of skin transfers in the known world. Our favourite tattoo so far is one that is sure to become an instant trend: the pusstache (see below).

Skin-T's Pusstache

So this season stop relying on your clothes to make a statement and live by the temporary tattoo mantra; “Keep Calm and Whack It On”.

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