[From January Issue 2011]
These days, it is common to see pets wearing outfits and accessories such as miniature Dachshunds in T-shirts and cats with ribbon collars. During the summer, some puppies wear shoes to protect their feet from the heat of paved streets. Some pets are even more dressed up than their owners. However lately, more and more pet owners are making their pet’s clothing and accessories by themselves.
The clothing sold at Tokyo pet shops can cost from 3,000 to 5,000 yen per item, and for some kinds of dogs, the number of items is limited. But, if you choose a material that suits your taste and then sew it yourself, you can, for a low cost, make a great piece that perfectly fits your pet.
OHSHIMA Yumiko is the representative of, and designer at, Ruri’s Dog in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward, a shop that specializes in selling dog-wear. In July 2010, she released a DVD instructing viewers on how to easily make dog outfits. On it, you can see her actually making clothing. It starts by discussing the materials, the necessary tools and how to take measurements, all using close-ups of her hands at work, making the DVD very well-received. A beginner can make an item in about an hour with 1,000 yen-worth of material.
MIYASHITA Sachiko, who made a T-shirt for her beloved dog with the help of the DVD says, “My friends now ask me to make clothes for their dogs. When I’m walking my dog, many people praise us. And that has resulted in me making new friends.” Ohshima adds that “your affection for your pet deepens after you make clothes for it. And the joy that your pet brings you also increases.”
SUZUKI Keiko and MURATA Naomi, who both live in Hiroshima City, opened Favrile Art, an Internet shop selling pet accessories, five years ago. ABE Chiho, a regular customer of theirs says, “Of course their designs are attractive, but on top of that, the needlework is tight and reliable.”
Suzuki says, “There were not many shops selling pet accessories, and since I could not find any preferred items, I started making accessories and small articles for my pet by myself. When I also gave them as presents to my friends, they were quite happy.” This eventually lead to the opening of the shop.
According to a 2010 Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living survey, 54.4 percent of people consider their pet as “a member of their family.” According to a 2009 survey regarding the actuality of dressing pets, it was found that 42 percent of pets in the Tokyo Metropolitan and Kansai areas wore some kind of pet-wear.
“Only an owner knows what color and design best suits his or her pet. The most important thing is to enjoy making it. Your pet will surely feel your affection through your handmade, one-of-a-kind outfit,” says Suzuki.
Text: MUKAI Natsuko