By Allison Warenik-Queenan
Pet Fashion Week 2010, yes, there is such an event, took place in New York City’s Metropolitan Pavilion on August 21st & 22nd. This year’s tradeshow centered around the creations of the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Pet Marketing Design students http://www.fitnyc.edu. Their intent was to focus on the importance of pet lifestyle design and to promote innovative products and ideas which are beneficial to pets in their everyday lives.
The event displayed items primarily for small dogs. Wholesale vendors from around the globe offered products ranging from the basic (collars and grooming tables), to the cute (Halloween costumes and pet portrait sessions), to the completely absurd (custom made pet bridal gowns complete with four foot long trains and veils). Um, yeah.
Clothing designs from the current FIT class were fashionable, fun and completely functional. My favorite item by a mile was Lindsey Morns’s Leather Bomber Jacket. Aside from the fact that I am dying for one of these jackets for myself, it’s a wonderfully stylish way to keep your best friend warm in the bitter winter months. Hipsters everywhere are going to be lining up to grab one of these for their pup. Other standout young designers were Lisa Barnes, with her Turtlebacks™ Organic Wool Knit Sweaters. In the spirit of being green, why not further extend a hand to Mother Earth by dressing our dogs in organic knits as well. And they look totally cozy. I also loved Leana Dominguez’s shout out to our troops with her “Military Canine” shirt and pants. I can already envision pups on Army posts everywhere sporting their own uniforms, proudly reflecting the hard work and sacrifice of their moms and dads.
Also on exhibition were looks from the top designers featured at Brazil’s recent San Paolo Pet Fashion Week. These beautiful doggy duds will be auctioned off by the Brazilian Guide Dog institute, a non-profit organization that trains and donates seeing eye dogs to the visually impaired. A few lucky pooches will get to step out on the town for their evening walks, basking in the attention these garments are going to bring them, while their owners get to have a great feeling inside, knowing that they donated to this wonderful cause.
Now, since it can’t be all about the dog, I had to check out some items for myself. I absolutely adored a new French line of pet carriers called Zu & Lu. Not too over-the-top or cutesy, these soft carriers appear perfectly luxe and sophisticated, while at the same time remaining accessible and fun. They will keep your pet secure while adding something special to any outfit. I can’t wait to see these in local stores. I will definitely be picking up two of them to replace my (ugly and bulky!) hard plastic cat carrier boxes.
Anyways, there is going to be lots to look forward to in the pet fashion arena in the upcoming seasons. This category of design is growing like crazy as more people are stepping forward and letting it be known that their pet is not just an animal but an important member of their family, one who gets to enjoy some of the same pampering and adornment that they do. And with the new program at FIT, there is going to be no shortage of talented designers specifically trained in this genre. Watch out for them. I am looking forward to seeing this field grow. As the owner of a seventy pound Huskie/Shepherd mix I can tell you that proper rain gear for my dog isn’t always the easiest thing to find. Stay tuned!