A few years earlier it might have seemed odd to some that one might google the phrase ‘pug socks’ and expect a result that was not actually related to a pug wearing socks, but an item of clothing in fact dappled with faces of pugs for the wearing pleasure of fashionable humans. Fast forward to the current trend climate and one could easily bet that there’s a tiny dog shrouded within the boot of every second person you pass in the street.
It should come as no surprise that the fashion industry has a ravenous interest in animal prints. Since its initial rise in popularity amongst bohemian women of the 1960’s, we have seen numerous renditions and reincarnations of the leopard, the zebra, the tiger; one only needs to reminisce on rummaging through nanna’s luxurious (albeit stale) wardrobe as a small child, subsequently drowning in a sea of printed fabric.
But Glamour Magazine’s fashion development director Susan Cernek explains the shift in fascination from the Sahara to the sausage dog: “Fashion went through a phase of being very serious and had a heavy vision,” Cernek said. “But the best designers epitomize this sense of whimsy and they take leopard print, luxurious and serious, and do something more fun with it.”
Designers like Victoria Beckham, with her line of dresses and blouses featuring cat prints, and Givenchy, with the infamous Rottweiler collection (made ever-trendier by King Yeezy) jumped right on the bandwagon. But it was street fashion that has been said to have had a hand in pioneering animal fashion trends before it even started showing up in magazines – hipsters on the street sporting cheesy animal sweaters in an ironic way (as always) in 2011 transformed something solemn into something cool and cheeky.
There’s no doubt that whimsy and humour are still a prevalent theme in the current fashion climate, with independent designers like Dapper Darlings reaping in the comedy of animal buddies adorning our clothing, and even the musical group Wild Beasts released a limited-edition band tee featuring a beagle in goggles because Hayden Thorpe decided ‘it would be hilarious’. Accompanying this trend is of course the rise in pet Instagram accounts (you heard me correctly) that have seemingly paved the way for a new interpretation of ‘man’s best friend’, and if possible this current luxury appreciation of our beasty pals could be creating a positive global awareness of welfare and protection.
Imam, J 8/04/2012 ‘Lions, Tigers and Bears – Oh, My Outfit!’, CNN 21/08/2015 <http://edition.cnn.com/2012/04/18/living/animal-print-fashion/>