Pet Fashion: Dressing Up Your Furry Friends
Get Inspired by the Latest Trends in Pet Fashion
It’s all about bling. Today, and as it was since time immemorial. Except for the appearance and material used to create these fashion accessories, one common emotion runs right through that expanse of time – when man first started domesticating animals as pets, purely as objects of their affection.
Collars emerged as tools for training and restraint as well as status symbols at the height of civilization
(There were no hoodies, sweaters or tutus back then)
In our more recent history, pet keeping by the European aristocracy and senior clergy dated back to the 13th to the 15th centuries. Noble ladies kept lap dogs, while the men preferred animals such as hunting hounds. Lap dogs were well-groomed and had some adornment on them that looked precious.
In the book The Reign of the Greyhound, Louis XI of France adorned his favourite greyhound pup, ‘Cher Ami’, in a solid gold collar covered in rubies.
At the end of the 17th century and with the onset of the 18th Century, it was well-practiced and an established tradition to have pets amongst middle-class Victorians, as was the case amongst the aristocracy. Fashion for pets were miniature versions of certain clothes that humans wore.
The Kennel Club was founded in 1873, while Queen Victoria herself entered six Pomeranians into the first Crufts Dog Show in 1891.
Why Pet Fashion is Becoming Popular
Today, while some dogs are ornamental (think of Paris Hilton’s late chihuahua, Tinkerbell), a dog (pet) remains a man’s best friend, and the fashion-conscious now shop around for the finest in pet-friendly clothes designs, accessories and pet care products.
For many, pets are part of the family, and get to enjoy the same lifestyle and luxuries like their human parents. Pet clothes were primarily made to protect against the vagaries of nature. Over the years, this has extended to dressing pets with fashion clothing and branding.
Canine outfits include sweaters, coats, puppy attire, t-shirts, tank tops and sweatshirts are in vogue. Boots, leashes, tags and hair clips are the popular accessories. Collars, jackets bathrobes, raincoats, beds and toys, come as branded and non-branded items. Pet garments like t-shirts with funny messages often reflect the pet’s character.
In fact, the City pf New York has staged pet fashion shows called ‘Last Bark.’
Dressing Up Your Dog
Dog fashion especially, and celebrity owned has been greatly influenced by the media and internet since its advent.
Pet/Dog clothes are available in various price ranges, from reasonable to high-end designer wear. Toy and small breed dogs, such as Chihuahuas and Yorkshire Terriers, are seen dressed in pet clothes mainly. Now pet clothes are found in sizes like s/m/l/xl etc and are customised to suit size and breed of pets. Pet fashion clothes are made to be either functional or for show.
Stylish Outfits for Different Occasions
Some special occasion clothes are styled with themes in mind and the seasonal celebrations. These include clothes suited for holidays and special occasions such as Halloween, Christmas, birthdays or weddings.
Pet coats and rain/winter wear are most commonly used for protection against the rain and cold and to provide extra warmth. These are also styled fashionably and come branded at times.
In countries all over the world, pet fashion shows are becoming increasingly popular.. Some well- known designers such as Alexander Wang have designed outfits for dogs. International fashion retailers such as Ralph Lauren have launched their own canine clothesline. Louis Vuitton has a line of leashes and collars for dogs with their trademark LV logo. Swarovski too has a line of collars and leashes for dogs with crystals.
Globally, the pet/canine fashion industry has become a multibillion-dollar business. In 2014, an estimated 26.7 million US households own a dog and an estimated 83.3 million dogs are kept as pets in the United States. The dog fashion industry is projected to continually grow.
How Pet Fashion is being adopted all around
Pets have become increasingly important and treated as unique individuals. Humans on their part have become increasingly dependent on animals as sources of companionship and emotional support, and hence their status in a household.
Increasing affluence means that more people can spend resources on items that are not necessary, like pet clothes and costumes.
According to German sociologist Georg Simmel, “Style is the manifestation of our inner feelings and through style we demonstrate our taste, values, and status. We project all of those qualities onto our dogs (pets)when we dress them.”
In films such as Oliver and Company, one of the characters is a female dog, Georgette, who indulges in luxury fashion and wears leopard print scarfs, big hats and jewelled collars.
Also featured was Paisley the pig, who came dressed as a space cadet.
Pets use their bodies to communicate, and clothing that inhibits this could be impractical for them as well as uncomfortable.We must be mindful of that and keep our objects of endearment looking smart and feeling comfortable and at the same time protected from rain, shine or the cold.