Fall Fashion – How people trends translate to the pet industry

To find out what’s haute and what’s hot in pet fashions, you only have to visit beaches in Malibu, sidewalk cafes in South Beach, Miami and dance clubs of New York City and zoom in on what teenagers and the twenty-something fashionistas are wearing. Scale down the designs and tweak the shapes for a wearer with four paws and a tail and you’ve captured what the trendy pet set is wearing too!

 

To find out what’s haute and what’s hot in pet fashions, you only have to visit beaches in Malibu, sidewalk cafes in South Beach, Miami and dance clubs of New York City and zoom in on what teenagers and the twenty-something fashionistas are wearing. Scale down the designs and tweak the shapes for a wearer with four paws and a tail and you’ve captured what the trendy pet set is wearing too!

“I am very conscious of what young people are wearing and design my collections accordingly,” says Sandy Park of Monkey Daze in San Diego , California . “It’s this age group that epitomizes urban wear trends as they are hot and happening.”

And nothing says street wear better than jeans and a T-shirt with a bit of bling. Park’s collection of detailed denim outfits captures the look completely. While they are one-piece outfits, they give the impression of being separates such as jeans or a skirt with sequined belt to complete the look.

Polka dots and stripes also work well with denim and Park has combined soft cotton fabrics to create a layered skirt look and accessorized with little sandals for summer.

“The sandals may look like a novelty item, but they’ve been designed for practicality,” explains Park. “All dogs have to deal with hot sidewalks and various other surfaces and little dogs in particular are more susceptible to the heat because they have such delicate paw pads. Other types of footwear such as tennis shoes can be too warm on a hot summer’s day.”

For Miami-based designer Loretta Forer, the tropical and trendy lifestyle of South Florida is unabashedly blazoned on her current Hot Cool Dog Cat Collection and flaunts all the typical icons such as flamingoes, hibiscus flowers and palm trees. White cotton tanks blend perfectly with her chosen summertime hues of hot pink, turquoise blues and orange.

“They can take you from the beach to lunch at a trendy restaurant,” explains Forer.

The latest collection from designer Lara Alameddine of Little Lily in Los Angeles , California is also a “lifestyle look”.

“The outfits are timeless in that they are designed for your dog to wear to any number of different events around the clock,” explains Alameddine.

“My main fashion focus is still on building a wardrobe with mix and matching separates. Just like with people, it’s all about different silhouettes and having a range of items that allows pet parents to put their own creativity to get to work.”

Alameddine recently teamed up with fashion icon Paris Hilton to produce the Paris Hilton by Little Lily Collection.

“Whether you love her or not, you have to admit she’s paved the way for pet fashion internationally. And apart from having great fashion sense, she’s always seen accompanied by the most famous and most fashionable dog in the world.”

The focus of the collection is frothy little “ Paris numbers” that once again fit Alameddine’s template of being the perfect outfit for any occasion such as bubble skirts and strappy stresses with scarf hemlines in hot pink and plum-purple.

“As a retailer, when it comes to pet fashion, you can still never stock too much pink,” says Jacquelyn Soltero owner of The Dog Gone Cute Store in Fresno , California . “I like to hang fashions on hangers so that customers can see what they are buying.

“I agree,” says Katie Parker of Vineyard Dog in Napa , California . “However, I also like to present haute couture designs on shelves and other flat surfaces as you would find outfits displayed in an upscale fashion store. Doggy mannequins are great too as they allow customers to judge size as it relates to their dog and how it would look on.”

“However, a lot of people shop with their dogs in tow,” adds Parker. “And we don’t mind their pooches slipping an out fit on for size.”

If pink is a perennially hot color for girls then boy dogs are not considered well dressed unless they have something camouflage in their wardrobe.

In fact designers that have always pandered to the more frilly and feminine looks are now concentrating on creating more macho looks for dogs of all shapes and sizes using a camouflage theme.

“It’s definitely a hot seller right now”, confirms Parker. “Camouflage doesn’t have to be in traditional army greens either. Shades of blue and grey and black combos sell very well as does anything with motorcycles and sculls and cross bones. Add bling and it’s really hip and hot.”

Sue Kim of Hip Doggie in Los Angeles , California also keeps macho pups in mind when she designs.

“There’s definitely a growing demand for stylish outfits for big dogs too. I’ve had requests for fashionable garb for Labradors and even a St Bernard.

One of the biggest styles to come on to the fashion scene in the last few years is without doubt the harness vest and designers are now making them with the same flair and imagination as other items of clothing.

“They are both practical and fashionable,” says Kim. “So it follows that the larger the variety of styles, the better. And it makes good sense to produce them with matching leads to complete the look. It’s a convenient item of clothing that’s definitely here to stay.”

Kim’s range includes everything from frothy pink with a sequined heart, to vests with military stars and stripes and others that boldly announce “Gangster”.

Initially harness vests were strictly daywear but designers are now going with the flow and making for all occasions.

“My designs and logos are very influenced by current fashion trends but I am also inspired by the fabrics available when I shop,” says Kim who offers her loyal customers a wide variety of interesting fabrics.”

And if soft cottons and seersuckers rule the daytime casual look, there’s no question that pooches are definitely dressing up for a night on the town. And there’s no doubt about it, Hollywood rules!

This year, Alameddine decided to follow human fashion designers who watch the glamorous gowns on the red carpet for the annual Academy Awards show and then hastily produce knock-offs forty eight hours later.

“I picked four of what I perceived to be the most glamorous gowns on the red carpet and produced canine versions,” explains Alameddine.

“The public are always looking for new things and Oscar dresses always create a lot of buzz in the industry.”

Alameddine’s top four red carpet gowns were Jay-Lo’s Grecian gown with the heavily bejeweled bodice, Nicole Kidman’s dramatic red , bow-shouldered Balenciaga, Penelope Cruz’s frothy, blush-colored Versace gown, and Reese Witherspoon’s deep purple swirl.

True to Oscar tradition, they were available to an adoring pet public within 48 hours and Alameddine admits that the phone has been ringing off the hook from around the world ever since.

“It just proves that the public is insatiable for something different.”

Further influence from Lalaland, the popular TV show, Dancing with the Stars has also inspired designers. Stephanie Bell of Fancy Burs in Lexington , Kentucky created a special Dancing with the Dogs dress in her current collection, while Vince and Ryan Gamboa of San Francisco , California have teamed canine glamour and glitz with matching gowns for their human counterparts.

“And just like the dancers in the show that wear lots of sparkle and bling to add pizzazz to their outfits, there’s no shortage of blink for well dresses pooches too” says Laurie Vien of Bark and Sparkle in Milton, Vermont.

 

“A dog can never have too much jewelry created with Swarovski crystals and pearls. Chokers combining the two and ranging from two strands to as many as six strands are hot items. A pup with jewelry is a pup with attitude.

“And what’s interesting in the number of people who are buying what is ostensibly pet jewelry to wear to match their pets,” confirms Vien.

Retailers say that there’s definitely a new trend developing as more owners admit to wearing their pet’s jewelry.

“The current look is all about matching charms, and wearing a small dog’s necklace as a bracelet,” says Park. “But when pet parents start requesting necklaces to be custom made to match their pet’s bejeweled collars, that’s really hot!”

•  Always have an event for customers to preview the latest fashions. Send out invitations and invite customers to come and meet and mingle over wine and cheese.

•  Stay a fashion show. Make it a charity event and raise money for your local shelter.

Hold a Bedazzled Evening Event. Many jewelry designers are happy to show off their latest pieces and take orders for special pieces. Hold a silent auction and raise money for your local shelter this way too