Apr 04, 2011 12:33PM
By By Grace Fuller
Today’s pampered pooches are stepping out in style. From apparel bejeweled in Swarovski crystals to sporty-
camouflaged fleeced hoodies, members of the canine crowd “dressed to the nines” strutted their stuff on runways last month during Manhattan’s fourth annual Pet Fashion Week.
The movement to turn four-legged barkers into fashionistas is perpetuated in the name of charity before an audience of retail buyers committed to the pet lifestyle industry. It’s the admittedly extreme end of a $3.9 billion nationwide market for canine clothing and accessories, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association.
Animal lovers bent on caring for the Earth, as well as their furry friends, can wrap them in affordable, comforting togs like the $12 Namaste Buddha Dog Tee at OliveGreenDog.com. Scores of eco-pet fashions are only mouse clicks away, and some online retailers donate a percentage of the profits to an animal rescue organization.
Barbara Savidge and Gina Quiroga, co-owners of Olive, represent their own line as well as other sources of organic pet clothing and related green goods. Involved in the human health and wellness industry prior to 2006, both women noticed that their clients were beginning to apply what they knew about green products and sustainability to the well-being of their pets. “While we wanted to cater to the trend, it was initially challenging, because of the limited amount of green products,” says Savidge. “In the last few years, however, that has changed.”
She has also noted another emerging trend in green purchases made online. “Customers are buying less frou-frou items and more well-made, classic clothing,” Savidge explains. “Affordable, basic sweaters are popular because people want things for their pets that will last.”
Owners generally need to know their animal’s neck and chest measurements. Available rain gear includes waterproof ponchos and booties. Sweaters and hoodies provide warmth for small dogs that have a hard time maintaining their normal body temperature in cold weather. Doggles, which protect sensitive eyes from sun and wind exposure, are recommended for dogs that like to nose their head out of car windows.
HauteHound.com, founded by Kimberly Hall, offers a variety of pet items. She annually attends the H.H. Backer Associates, Inc. spring pet trade show in Baltimore, which draws 8,500 retail buyers from around the world to view two floors of pet products. “Every time I go, I see more eco-friendly items,” reports Hall. “Options have now expanded to supplements, Earth-friendly shampoos and organic treats.”
She notes that the organic clothing market still has plenty of room to grow. “I have a hairless cat and a greyhound at home,” says Hall, “and neither has much body fat, so they both appreciate wearing a warm sweater in winter.” For pet lovers on a tight budget with a knack for sewing, free, resizable pet apparel sewing patterns are available on several websites.
For more information about Olive Green Dog, call 512-323-6484 or visit OliveGreenDog.com. Find The Haute Hound at HauteHound.com. For pet sewing patterns, see Sewing.CircleOfCrafters.com/freepetvestpattern.html.