Dog fashion is a popular style or practice, especially in canine clothing and accessories. Dog fashion is a distinctive trend of the style in which people dress their canine companions. This trend dates back to the Egyptian pre-dynastic period and has since expanded due to increased consumer capitalism.
There is evidence from ancient Egypt that people were using decorative collars to adorn their dogs. One collar was discovered in the tomb of the ancient Egyptian nobleman Maiharpiri in 1440 BC. It depicts hunting scenes embossed into leather. The dog's name, Tantanouit, is visible on the collar. He was a favorite dog of the nobleman who wished to bring him to the afterlife. There are also silver, gold, silk and velvet decorative dog collars from the time of King Henry VIII which were used to represent how many battles the dog survived.
During the Renaissance, dogs were seen as objects of possession and thus collars were fitted with padlocks where only the owner of the dog had the key. Nobility and the upper class have been decorating their canine companions for centuries and there is photographic evidence from 1900 of people dressing their dogs in human costumes. Today, it is common for people to dress up their dogs, particularly small dogs, and canine clothing has become a global phenomenon. In 2011, there was a dog fashion show in New York called Last Bark at Bryant Park.
Dog clothes are available in various price ranges, from inexpensive to high-end designer styles. Typically toy and small breed dogs, such as Chihuahuas and Yorkshire Terriers, are dressed in dog clothes, although even large breeds like Golden Retrievers can wear clothes, too. It is more common to dress small dogs because they are easier to dress and they often suffer from cold temperatures. Dog clothes are made to be either functional or for show. Functional dog clothes are for protection from the elements and allergens. Dog clothes that are purely for show would be used as costumes for holidays and special occasions, such as Halloween or weddings.
Dog coats are most commonly used for protection against the rain and cold and to provide extra warmth. Dog coats are also used as fashion accessories.
Dog sweaters are both functional and fashion accessories. They provide extra warmth for dogs that are hairless or suffer from the cold and come in an array of patterns and styles, such as cable knitted sweaters or hooded sweatshirts with embellishments.
Dog shirts can be used to help keep a dog clean and as fashion accessories. They can also be used to help protect a dog who is excessively scratching itself due to allergies or prevent hairless dogs from getting sunburned. They are available in a t-shirt style with short or long sleeves as well as a sleeveless tank top for use during warmer weather.
Dog dresses are purely fashion accessories and are mainly worn on toy and small breed dogs.
There is a clear distinction between pet shows and pet fashion shows. The pet fashion show's emphasis is on the clothes, not on the dog. In countries all over the world, pet fashion shows are becoming increasingly popular During these shows, well groomed pets strut down the runway wearing high fashion clothes. Some well known designers such as Alexander Wang have designed outfits for dogs.
Dog coats, collars, cute sweaters, shirts, stylish dresses, and booties are some of the items people purchase to adorn their dogs with style. Some major international fashion retailers such as Ralph Lauren have launched their own canine clothing lines. Louis Vuitton has a line of leashes and collars for dogs with their trademark LV pattern. Swarovski also has a line of collars and leashes for dogs with crystals.
The canine fashion industry has become a multibillion-dollar business set to top £30 billion in 2015. In the US, expenditure on pet supplies including clothing has been steadily increasing for the last twenty years with 2014 estimated spending at $13.72 billion. In 2014, an estimated 26.7 million US households own a dog and an estimated 83.3 million dogs are kept as pets in the United States. The dog fashion industry is projected to continually grow.
Humans typically have deep attachments to their dogs because dogs are adept at fulfilling emotionally supportive roles in people's lives which results in high levels of attachment. Dog owners who are single, childless, newly married, empty nesters, divorced, or in a second marriage tend to anthropomorphize their pets more often. Dogs can be emotional substitutes for family members such as children and spouses and they contribute to the moral maintenance of people who live alone.
Dogs have become increasingly important and treated as unique individuals. In a world where people are increasingly disconnected from their families they rely more on their pets, specifically dogs, to fill emotional voids. Pets have become a relatively easy and lovable replacement for children or a strong community.
Humans have been dependent on animals as sources of companionship and artistic inspiration since the Paleolithic Period, and animals have continued to mold the shape of human culture and psychology ever since.
Consumer capitalism viewpoint
People express themselves through fashion. As Georg Simmel says, "Style is the manifestation of our inner feelings and through style we demonstrate our taste, values, and status. We project all of those qualities onto our dogs when we dress them."
The appearance of a dog reflects the status of the owner: dressing a dog is more about the owner than the animal. When an owner dresses up their dog they establish a unique bond with the dog that places them at an even more personal and intimate level.
Dogs are often shown in movies dressed up in clothing and costumes. This reflects the contemporary trend of dog fashion. In films such as Oliver and Company, one of the characters is a female dog, Georgette, who indulges in luxury fashion and wears leopard print scarfs, big hats and jeweled collars.
In the Disney film Beverly Hills Chihuahua, a family of chihuahuas portray small dogs wearing fashionable clothes including sunglasses, hats, shirts, dresses, jeweled collars, and bandanas. In one scene, a wedding takes place between two dogs where the female dog wears a bridal gown and the male dog groom wears a tuxedo.
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