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Barking mad fashion

There is no mistaking that New Yorkers love their dogs. They bring them to restaurants, have manicures together and if work won’t allow the cute pooch to sleep under the desk, then the dog walker or the local dog nursery will ensure five star treatment in the owner’s absence.

There is a certain apprehension amongst retailers at the moment. The new fall ranges may have been installed in the windows, but shoppers are spending more time listening to the politicians (unless you’ve been in coma, you can’t have missed that there is an election coming up), contemplating the weakness of the dollar and worrying about the price increase of going back to school. But one thing is for sure, pet retailers are not feeling the recession. The owner may be downgrading his or her retail therapy, but the dog won’t be seen dead in anything from last season.

Brands like Wagwear and Pariero are both at the forefront of doggy style fashion, but their appeal couldn’t be more different. Wagwear (I wonder how long it will be before the shopping haunts of the WAGS catch on to this brand) is perfect for your more manly dog. Set up by a former fashion model the collection consists of colour and pattern coordinated items, ranging from a houndstooth raincoat that comes with a matching bed to the braided leash and collar combo. A tee-pee hound lounge is also available for those who like to camp with their dog.

Pariero is for the dog (read owner) who loves the glitzy lifestyle (and is looking for a child substitute). Don’t miss out on the NY limited range pink ribbon dress or the sling style carry that can hold a dog weighing up to 12lbs. Love a bit of Rock & Roll? No problem as Rolling Stones t-shirts are part of an extensive range of completely inappropriate outfits, including denim skirts and coveralls. Going to a fancy dress party? Pop into Pariero and pick up the wonder woman dress, your dog will win the prize for best outfit!

UK dog lovers may disagree with the New Yorkers’ penchant for dressing up their dogs, but there is good money to earn from this trend. Fashion inspired pet wear was recently quoted as being one of the fastest growing areas in retail. From September young designers can enrol at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) and learn how to redirect their design and sewing skills for their four legged customers. Couldn’t spot the difference between a Dalmatian or Chichuahua if you tried? FIT won’t leave you with your tail stuck between your legs. Join the class on pet branding and you could be the king of the doghouse.

It may seem barking mad, but in a retail environment where many are struggling it’s hard not to embrace pet wear. Just make sure you focus on the cuter dogs, as it certainly has potential to give “The customer is always right” a different meaning.

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