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“With Covid, lockdown and the shift to working from home and being at home more, owners have been brought closer to their pets both physically and psychologically. With less disposable income spent on big ticket items like travel, consumers have had more money to spend on luxury items like pet fashion. The pandemic increased sales of pet fashion and brands are now following suit.”
Luxury brands have long recognised the importance of pets, and high street retailers are also getting in on the action. Country Road, The Iconic and H&M (Europe) all boast pet collections. Last Christmas, H&M even launched a range of matching outfits for dogs and their owners.
Bohemian fashion label Camilla has become the latest Australian retailer to add a pet range to its offer, following a successful launch into homewares.
A Camilla marketing executive told Inside Retail the pet category was the next “logical product extension” for the brand and a way to honour its “most loyal Tribe members”.
“Our head office, Villa Camilla is pet friendly, and we’ve always incorporated our canine companions into our creative,” she explained.
“Our La Fleur Libertine campaign starred two big, beautiful poodles and a sweet little Frenchie, our Once Upon A Time campaign had a majestic white wolf walking through shots, and our most recent Christmas shoot, Take Me To Tinsel Town, featured the cutest blue Staffy.”
Founder Camilla Franks is also a big dog lover. Earlier this year she fostered a dog named Lily after hearing that animal shelters were overflowing with pets that needed homes.
The range is starting small, featuring collars, leashes and dog beds, while Camilla learns more about its “four-legged customer”.
“It was an interesting decision finding a unisex option as our prints are often quite feminine. We used our token animal hardware for a studded option on a plain black leather which can be worn on both sexes,” the spokesperson said.
And while it’s focused on dogs for now, there are more pet options in the works.
The retailer began promoting the range on social media last week with the help of doggy influencers including @coco_the_peekapoo. The brand said it has been some of its most engaged content this year.
Like H&M, Camilla is looking at ways the pet range can complement its human fashion line. The brand is spruiking its revamped Zenwear collection as an option for pet owners on dog walks or to relax in.
“Our Zenwear collection has bought back some of our Tribe’s most-loved prints from season’s past and reimagined them into comfortable lounge and activewear silhouettes.”
Learnings from LA
It’s hard to ignore the influence of celebrity culture on pet fashion. Paris Hilton was among the first celebrities seen to dress her dogs in designer clothing and accessories.
Hilton is one of the high-profile customers of global luxury lifestyle brand Moshiqa, a brand also favoured by celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Chrissy Teigen.
Meryem Birsoz, CEO and founder of Moshiqa, told Inside Retail that a common theme unites Moshiqa customers.
“They see their pet as a part of their family and consider them as their kids. They celebrate the furry birthdays, spoil them frequently. Often, the furry kids even have their own social media accounts,” she said.
Since launching in 2017, Birsoz has seen exponential growth in the pet industry and the power that technology has had on the way pet owners shop and communicate.
“When it comes to shopping for pet products, millennial pet owners (the largest segment of pet owners) act very differently from the older generation’s approach,” Birsoz said.
“Pet parents now see their animals as family members. They spoil them, splurge on luxurious products for their precious one and only. They like to dress the part with their furry kids.”
During the pandemic, LA-based Moshiqa saw online sales surge by 700 per cent as more people adopted pets.
In fact, a YPulse’s survey found that 7 per cent of Millennials in the US said that they adopted a pet during COVID-19 to have company during quarantines.
“This has created an enormous demand for pet products and a surge in online purchasing. . Moshiqa’s stable and efficient online sales platform was recently updated and upgraded to cater to the high demand and delivery expectations required by their customers,” she said.
“Our sales have been growing and increasing steadily each year since our company was founded in 2017. Each year comes with its own challenges. As we get bigger, we get wiser.”
The style influence
Birsoz highlighted the influence a pet can have on its owner’s personal fashion and design choices.
“Having a pet is nearly the same experience as having a baby in your life. This new living creature changes your life completely. The change includes your interior choices, your shopping habits, and also your fashion sense too,” she said. .
“They are looking for good quality items that are also fashionable to be able to show off and be proud of. They like to spoil them. They like to dress a part with their furry kids. This sense influences and results in the birth of the new lifestyle fashion products for pets and pet parents.”
Macquarie University’s Bowden told Inside Retail that retailers are realising the importance of this powerful extension of the consumer’s self-concept.
“The fashion brands that we choose reflect our own individual style and personality. Brand loyalty is about identity … who they are and how they want to represent themselves to others around them,” she said.
“Fashion labels have latched on to this market opportunity so that consumers can now match that style with their pets’ fashion.”
Bowden pointed to Versace’s pet couture range which matches look and feel to its consumers range, and Pagerie, the latest luxury pet brand, which produces high-end leather collars and harnesses at the same leather crafting factory that makes the famed Birkin bag.
“Pet owners who crave that Hermes brand connection can now purchase a hand-crafted Pagerie piece from its debut Sahara collection for US$380 collar, a US$520 leash, and a US$720 harness,” she said.
A dog’s life, indeed!