I came in through the back door. I set out to save dogs using my specific skill set. It grew into a line of designer dog clothes. The plan was that the line would explode and continue to save dogs on an even grander scale.
But I wasn’t smart. I should have done some market research, at which point I would have realized that this was a tiny niche market where my grand intentions wouldn’t fit. Instead I did what most artists do, I went with my gut and started creating.
I wrote a mission statement, built a website, designed a logo, labels. I bought the needed pattern-making tools, three dog mannequins, a bunch of sample fabrics and I was off to the races. I set out to create a fashion-forward line of pet party clothes. I had been a designer for Albert Nipon and Christian Dior. The plan was to bring that same Seventh Avenue standard to the world of doggie couture. It was exciting. It was inspiring. It was a financial bust.
Dog fashion doesn’t exist. Not on a measurable scale. Not in Los Angeles. Not in 2014. Yes, people buy clothes for their dogs and some are very fashionable. Usually it’s a dress or a coat intended to last the life of the dog without the desire for something new built into it. That’s not fashion.
With fashion comes desire. Fashion is the social experience that revolves around getting dressed. It’s the parties, the press, the anticipation of what the next season will bring. It’s the stories the clothes tell; the characters we become when we wear them. It’s a tool of self expression; a shield to hide behind. It’s the hope that a dream will come true. It’s feelings personified… the future unveiled… it’s an involving experience.
That’s the world of human fashion. Dog fashion would be a different world, but it would be a world; a social place filled with activity, inspiration, hopes and dreams. I do believe that dogs enjoy the attention they get when they look especially cute. Mostly dog fashion would create a world for the dog owners.
We have become an isolated society filled with lonely people, hungry for social engagement and outlets for kindness. I think people enjoy fun experiences that allow them to step outside of themselves. Experiences where they can make a difference, maybe even change the world. A really cute dog in a cocktail dress that everyone fawns over gives you the power to do that. It feels like the people are fawning over you! Suddenly you’re the belle of the ball. It’s exciting. Empowering. Innocent. Sweet. Attach all that to a cause… it’s magic.
How do you create a market where a market doesn’t exist?
I didn’t know. I Googled some stuff. Then I asked myself, what is the science of fashion? How come fashion is so powerful? What gives it its allure? And can we use that to build an inspired world of dog fashion? I’m going to suggest an unlikely fiend to be responsible for the industry’s success. The driving force in fashion is the person who will steal your idea and sell it for less.
We called them knock-offs, and their presence was known in every design meeting we had. We actually created the mystique of each season knowing that we had to do something new and unexpected, because if we didn’t, the knock-off guy would steal our business.
We were chased into excellence by our competition. It inspired us to create something new. That “something new” is what built our brand. It also built anticipation. It excited people. It created followers. It turned fashion into a fun game, making people hungry to see what new feeling would be coming along to be experienced.
I want to bring that allure, that magic, that excitement to the world of dog fashion. I want to create a fun game. My PupScout Troop is helping. We’re planning a fun PR event March 29th where 10 or so dogs dressed to the nines will be shopping in Beverly Hills, filming as we go, stopping in some stores, ending at Pussy & Pooch for a cocktail party. This event promotes a west coast Dog Fashion Show several of us are producing, a show that will benefit rescues of the breeds in the show.
We also have a PupScouts cookie drive coming up to benefit no-kill LA . We’ve got some great marketing minds as part of the team. We have a booth at Woofstock where we will sell cookies and operate a photo kissing booth.
And we are planning a 4th of July fashion parade as part of the opening festivities when the Motion Picture and Television Fund retirement home opens their Dog park. We want to coordinate with the girlscouts and do a joint event. Our goal — in six months, we want to be well-known and well thought of as fashion-forward philanthropic dogs who are starting a trend.