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Tail blowers: fashion houses turn to pet clothing as ‘humanization’ trend grows | Fashion

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There are Italian-made Gucci hats made of pink bouclé wool, Celine travel bags with calfskin trim and a (waste bag) bag with gold spikes. But these aren’t just any designer fashion items… they’re made for customers with four legs and a tail.

In the past year, numerous fashion houses have launched ranges for pets, including Gucci, Celine, Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss and Christian Louboutin. Dolly Parton also launched her own line of dog clothes in 2022, named Doggy Parton.

And even the catwalk (or dogwalk?) has found a place for your furry friend. This month, the fashion calendar kicked off with the Pitti Uomo menswear event in Italy and alongside the latest styles for men, there was a new event, PittiPets, dedicated to clothing, accessories and homeware for cats and dogs.

“We’ve been thinking about pushing the lifestyle boundaries of Pitti Uomo for a while,” says Antonio Cristaudo, a director of Pitti Immagine. “A growing market has emerged as a result of strong consumer demand.”

The global pet clothing market is expected to be worth $7 billion by 2032, with an annual growth rate of 5%. Pet clothing sales have grown 21% since 2019 and average spend by owners is up 9%. Dogs have the largest wardrobes, with 60% of pet clothing purchased by their owners. In the UK alone, more than £7.5 billion was spent on pets in 2020, according to the Pet Food Manufacturing Association, and there are over 34 million UK pets.

Some of the newer offerings are inspired by designers’ pets. Gucci’s collection of sweaters, jackets and travel bags was created with creative director Alessandro Michele’s Boston terriers Bosco and Osco in mind. Celine’s range of leashes, poop bags and bowls, designed by Hedi Slimane, was created for his labradoodle, Elvis.

This is not just a trend for luxury fashion. Well-known brands such as H&M have also made dog clothes. Chris Corbin, commercial director of Pets at Home, the UK’s largest pet care chain, said sales of dog sweaters and hoodies were up more than 60% year on year. “This is being driven by an increasing number of pet and pet owners becoming an integral part of the family in a growing trend of humanization.”

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Changes in the demographics of pet ownership have contributed to this trend. Nearly two-thirds of those who have recently purchased a pet in the UK are aged between 16 and 34. These millennial and Gen Z owners often treat their pets as an extension of their human family and are more likely to buy food, accessories and accessories. clothing similar to products they would buy for themselves.

Ileana Ciamarone, co-founder of the sustainable Italian pet brand Omniagioia, has created dog food bowls, sweaters and coats using recycled materials and 3D printing. Ecologically sound products that reduce a pet’s carbon footprint are gaining popularity, she says. “Large amounts of plastic materials are consumed in the pet care market, so it was a goal for us to reduce that by using 100% recyclable material. Our line also has a minimal aesthetic for people who love animals and design.”

The interest in clothing for animals coincided with the rise of pet influencers on Instagram and TikTok. Italian Greyhound Tika the Iggy and Boobie Billie, an Italian Greyhound and Chihuahua mix, lead the pack on social media with brand deals and fashion collaborations.

Tea Kainu is CEO of Paikka, a Finnish pet clothing brand featured on PittiPets. She has been making coats for her dogs since she was 14 and believes their clothing should be viewed in the same way as human fashion. “You can design products from a dog’s perspective, but still make them fashionable. The clothes should also be in department stores and lifestyle stores instead of pet stores,” she says.

“Why wouldn’t you want to buy your furry friend’s winter coat in the same place and at the same time as buying one for yourself? And in the best case, those jackets would match.