Tattoo Styles: The Art that Inspires Our Apparel Design

Looking for clothing that is a unique alternative to the mainstream? At Born Dead, our collection of tattoo-inspired clothing for both men and women is beyond the norm and breaks the rules of fashion. We design apparel based on some of our favorite tattoo styles, from oversized hoodies and graphic tees to skatewear socks and vintage shirts. 

American Traditional Tattoo Style 

American Traditional tattoo style tee 

The American Traditional style dates back to the 1930s thanks primarily to American tattoo artist Norman Collins, aka Sailor Jerry. Sailor Jerry took a Japanese technique and meshed it with his own unique American style to create something truly iconic.

Typically made up of black and primary colors, red, green, yellow, and blue, these tattoos feature bold lines with no shading. Iconic American Traditional tattoo designs include popular variations of 

  • Nautical or military-related items such as anchors, ships, or nautical stars
  • skulls, hearts, roses, daggers, flowers, crosses, hourglasses, or arrows
  • Beautiful lady themes including the iconic pin-up girl, diving girl, Native American woman or gypsy girl portraits, and the geisha
  • Animals like eagles, dragons, panthers, sharks, snakes, birds, scorpions, butterflies, & tigers
  • Gambling or magic themes with playing cards, dice, lucky emblems, and top hats

American Traditional ink is made up of some of the most requested and easily recognizable tattoos out there. These tattoos remain popular because of their stunning and timeless nature.

 Blackwork Tattoo Style 

tattoo inspired t-shirt

Tattoos created entirely with black ink are the signature of Blackwork style tattoos. Although these are all black, maybe with a slight hint of color like red, it doesn’t make them any less dramatic or impactful. 

Stick-N-Poke Tattoo Style

stick and poke tattoo inspired socks


Stick-N-Poke, or dotwork, tattoo styles can range from simple to complex. Known initially as Tebori and performed by the Japanese before the advent of tattoo machines, it involves the intricate technique of filling a tattoo needle with ink and poking it into the skin, one dot at a time.

The main difference between this style and the others is that there is no machine and no electricity involved in the process. This technique is popular among DIY tattooers but is becoming more mainstream among professional tattoo artists. 

Illustrative Tattoo Styles 

illustrative tattoo style vintage tee

Illustrative tattoo styles, a.k.a. Realistic, are created with such intricate detail they almost look real. Popular designs include portraits, sketches, scenes of nature, or surreal art that takes specialized skill and experience to make the complex layers come to life. Often in shades of black and gray, but can also be colorful, these tattoos take even the most skilled artists a lot of time, but with breathtaking results!

These are just a few styles that inspired our tattoo apparel, but many other tattoo styles are out there. We know everyone is unique, and there is no one-style-fits-all tattoo design. Whether you’re considering getting ink for the first time or looking for something new, do some research to find the style that speaks to you! 

Join the Born Dead Movement

Just as the ink on your skin is unique to you, you also deserve to wear clothing as unique as your story. Born Dead Clothing features tattoo-inspired alternative streetwear, as well as skateboard clothing and alternative goth apparel for men & women living their passions to the fullest.

Designed by a former graffiti artist, our alternative streetwear brand is inspired by the music we listen to, the ink on our skin, and the art we see on the streets. Ready to live your passion? Join the Born Dead movement now!

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