Are Tattoos Fashion? Applying the Social Change Theory

by Tasha A. Agustin


The purpose of this study was to explore current perceptions of tattoos as fashion, with application and analysis of the social change theory as the research framework. Qualitative and quantitative methods were employed to analyze current levels of social acceptance of tattoos and perceptions of
tattoos as fashion phenomena. Participants were recruited through purposeful convenience sampling from Midwestern and Western regions of the United States. A total of 212 surveys were collected from 46 men and 166 women; 62 members of the sample had at least one tattoo and 150 had no tattoos. While recognition of social change with respect to tattoos was documented, and evidence of tattoos as a fashion phenomenon emerged, this study supports the notion that social influences restricting tattoo acceptance as a mainstream fashion continue to exist. Among this sample population, tattoos are perceived as fashion objects; however, there are complexities in the way that tattoos reflect fashion, largely due to their permanency on bodies.

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