Dogs have long been humans’ trusty companions but what started as a purposeful hunting and guarding partnership has gone far beyond - over the millennia, dogs have slowly but surely moved from barns and hearths to living rooms and even bedrooms. “Animals are the better children. They don't scream, don't talk back and are cheaper” is a popular running joke among - predominantly young - dog owners. Statistically, millennials prefer to keep dogs and cats rather than have children according to the latest survey by the US consumer protection platform Consumer Affairs.
No wonder then that dogwear brands - once far and few between clothing brand and mostly limited to leashes, beds and blankets - have made way for brands that offer only dogwear, even couture for dogs by brands like Holly Owl, Eva Machi, UnoRuben, LolliPet and Emma Firenze. Reason enough for the Pitti Uomo to reflect this trend by dedicating an exclusive space to clothes, accessories and lifestyle products for dogs for the first time this year.
Just like among fashion brands, there is a growing awareness among dogwear brands too when it comes to sustainability. After all, one would not want to clothe one’s dog in something that was bad for him or her or the environment. The newfound obsession can take on quite a bizarre turn, however, when dogs are clothed in the hair or fur of other animals - wool sweaters for example, or leather boots. But see for yourself as FashionUnited presents - in no particular order - seven sustainable dogwear brands from around the world that all have something unique to offer.
Australia-based Snoot Style offers coats, puffer jackets and jumpers for dogs along with blankets, towels, leashes and collars. The brand got started - like some of the others - out of frustration, after buying “one too many dog coats that weren’t up to scratch” as founder Katy King put it. She wanted to combine actually useful and stylish dogwear that was also sustainable.
So she channelled her background in the fashion industry was “ruthless in the pursuit for an ethical supply chain”: “We use recycled and sustainable materials including organic cotton. We ship in compostable mailers and minimise plastic. Quality made to last,” says the brand on its website. In addition, 10 percent of the profits from every sale go toward the World Wildlife Fund to help empower communities, conserve biodiversity and create a greener future.
Canada Pooch was founded by Jacqueline Prehogan in 2011 after searching for the right size of protective wear geared for Canadian winters. Today, the Toronto-based brand offers 15 sizes to fit any dog from chihuahua to great dane and has over 5,000 dedicated retail partners and a community of pet parents. Canada Pooch has a strict no-animal-products policy and does not offer apparel or accessories that contain down, fur or leather. The brand has a collection of weighted blankets and coats for anxious pet and an eco-conscious collection that uses recycled fabrics, linings or polyfills, deadstock fabrics, organic cotton, vegan leathers and plant-based dyes.
“We believe it’s our responsibility to drive a positive impact in the pet industry. We approach sustainability with a beginner’s mindset, continually seeking new and creative ways to implement sustainable practices. To date, we have made big strides in sustainable innovation, with over a dozen products made with sustainable materials. We have pledged to produce 100 percent of our packaging with recyclable materials in 2023,” explains the brand on its website.
Finnish pet apparel brand Beana Design was founded in 2020 as a “tribute to the beautiful bond between humans and animals, as well as endorsing harmony with nature and preserving a healthy planet”. The design company has set out to redefine the pet apparel market and employs “the most exciting young textile designer talent in Scandinavia combined with 30 plus years of experience in developing pet clothing”.
The brand’s sustainability policy rests on three pillars: the ambitious goal of creating “the most beautiful, the most comfortable and the most sustainable products available for pets”. Currently, Beana Design offers reflective gear, rainy day clothing and winter essentials. All products are designed in Finland and crafted in Europe, currently in Estonia. They are also sustainably sourced, made from recycled materials and packaged plastic free. In addition, 5 percent of the profits are directed towards protection of animals and the planet.
Cloud7 is a Berlin-based dogwear brand that offers puffer vests, coats and sweaters for dogs that are made from sustainable and recycled as well as natural materials like hemp, cotton, jute or seagrass. It was founded in 2010 by fashion designer Petra Jungebluth who worked at Tommy Hilfiger and German fashion label Strenesse. “It has since grown into a premium dog brand with loyal fans across the world: Cloud7 offers the widest product portfolio in this segment and is distributed to select retail partners in more than 35 countries”, says the brand on its website.
But that is not all - the award-winning company (best brand, best product design, etc.) also offers a Rescue collection with collars, dog pillows and t-shirts and totes for the owners whose proceeds go to dogs in need. For those who really cannot get enough of dogs, the brand also has its own magazine that talks about dog supplies and life with dogs in general. “Every material, design and final product is tested for durability and longevity to minimise unnecessary consumption. Production runs are planned to save resources and shipping is mindfully scheduled to reduce our CO2 footprint”, emphasises the brand.
Brighton-based Wag&Wool was started by knitwear designer and teacher at The University of Brighton and The London College of Fashion Rachael Driver after she wrapped her friend’s dog in a hand-knitted scarf on a cold day. When the pandemic hit, the idea got turned into a business and since then, Wag&Wool has been shipping luxury dog jumpers and matching owner sets all around the UK and globally.
While some dogwear brands shun animal-based materials for their products, for Wag&Wool it is essential: All knitwear products are made from lambswool and spun by Z Hinchcliffe & Sons in Denby Dale, Yorkshire. “This makes our dog knitwear biodegradable and recyclable, and the same can be said for our packaging,” says the brand. “We choose natural fibres over manmade acrylics and we use recycled materials for our labels. Everything is made in England in small runs, the production partners we work with are independent, family owned skilled businesses. All our products have been uniquely designed in-house.”
Kali Dog Wear
Kali Dog Wear offers eco-friendly dog products such as collars, beds, leashes, bandanas and accessories that are handmade in Bali, Indonesia, where the brand is based. It was born out of the need for lasting, plastic-free collars and helping street dogs without being dependent on donations.
Founder Annika experimented with leftover yarn from garment factories, coconut yarn and metal and the first collar was produced in October 2019. The brand also has its own shop in Canggu, Bali, which opened in June 2021. In addition, a blog provides dog lovers with useful tips.
Kizzou is a New York City-based dogwear brand whose sustainable approach rests on three pillars: ethical labour, reduction of waste and pet-friendly, recycled or upcycled fabrics and materials that do not contain any harmful chemicals or dyes. All of Kizzou’s clothes are handmade in the USA by women who receive fair wages and also work for Broadway. Small batches guarantee that there is no overstock and any unsold samples are donated to animal shelters in the city.
The brand offers coats and jackets, streetwear and collars and also offers tailor-made creations. “The idea for Kizzou came from my specific need to find jackets that would fit my two rescue yorkies. Every jacket that I would buy for my dogs would never really fit and I always had to fix them myself. So I decided one day to design my own jacket that would be adjustable and that’s how Kizzou was born,” remembers founder Roxana Perez Pineiro.
There are a couple of sustainable brands that do not make dogwear per se but focus on one well thought-out piece or accessories but we liked their sustainable approach, so here they are:
Omniagioia is an Italian brand that entered the market in July 2022 and focuses on sustainble, fashionable and high-quality designs for dogs. “The purpose of Omniagioia is to offer ethical and sustainable products to the pet economy market, mainly made of recycled plastic and which have a low environmental impact during the production phase thanks to the use of 3D printing technology,” say the founders and friends Daria Lo Giudice and Ileana Ciamarone. “The goal is to create a brand that works on commission, without creating mass production or stock, therefore working on request, combining the manufacturing of craftsmanship and technology in the recycling business.”
Bonne et Filou
New York City-based brand Bonne et Filou is named after French King Louis XIV’s favourite dogs, Bonne and Filou, who lived the good life in the palace. Though specialised on French-inspired dog treats, the brand also offers a dog vest jacket that is made from 80 percent recycled materials and features a waterproof and windproof fabric. It is made in Ukraine, with proceeds going to dogs in Ukraine affected by the war.