Dedicated followers of four-legged fashion

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 July, 2012, 12:00am


Denim and lace, polo shirts and hoodies, scarves, skater dresses and floral prints - these are the hottest 2012 looks not seen at the Paris Fashion Week.

That is because these new styles are the latest designer fashions for pets, who can now be as trendy as their owners.

Putting clothes on pets was initially to prevent the animals from getting cold in winter, but in recent years pet clothing has boomed into trendy fashion lines.

For owners, buying clothes for their animals is now routine, but it can be an addictive hobby for some.

Dandy Chung, who has been designing pet clothes for 10 years, has seen a growth in popularity. 'It increases about 10 per cent every year,' he says.

Just as with clothes for people, pet outfits also enjoy fashion trends. Styles that are fashionable on the human runway are likely to be popular for pets as well, Chung explains, as owners make purchases based on their own preferences.

Besides the annual spring/summer and autumn/winter collections for pets, seasonal products are also making waves during special periods, such as Lunar New Year, Christmas and Halloween.

Amelia Ng from Doggie Goodie says: 'Pumpkin or watermelon hats, bunny and panda suits, and devil outfits for Halloween, lai-see backpacks and Chinese jackets for Lunar New Year are our seasonal best sellers.'

Ng believes that wearing clothes makes pets stand out. Sporty hoodies, cartoon characters such as Superman and Spiderman, costume and floral-print dresses, show the pets' personality and make them look cuter.

'Pets enjoy the attention and praise they get,' Ng says. While design and fashion trends are important, designers pay special attention to the use of fabrics. As most pets have hair, designers usually choose fabrics that will be less likely to cause skin irritation and are easy to wash.

'Good quality and comfortable fabrics are most important,' says Ng, whose two key principles are: avoid using pieces that are easy to bite off and try to make clothes as easy to wear as possible.

'We use pure cotton or knit to make clothes for summer where light and comfortable is preferred,' Chung says.

'In winter, we use cotton to make the lining so that both comfort and warmth are achieved. Then the outside will be left with more [fabric] options. Usually there are more styles available in winter and more sales as well.'

Chung reminds owners to beware of the pet's body shape when choosing clothes. If the animal has short legs or a short neck, clothes with sleeves and collars are probably not a good option.

For pets with longer hair, owners should avoid materials that will easily get caught and knotted into the pets' fur.

Choosing a design that leaves the front bottom part open is advisable to reduce the likelihood of the pet wetting itself and it is better to 'avoid clothes with complicated designs', as pets may get impatient if owners spend too much time dressing them, Ng points out.

Finding the right outfit that makes your pet look cute must be tempered with comfort and safety.