Canine Couture



Every year thousands of buyers and designers flock to New York City from around the globe to catch a glimpse of next season’s hottest fashion trends…for Fido and Mr. Peepers. This weekend marked the 5th Annual Pet Fashion Week, widely recognized as the premier event for the pet fashion industry, at the Metropolitan Pavilion. Lisa Barnes (pictured), owner of LMB Designs and the eco-friendly pet apparel company, Turtlebacks explains how your English Bulldog will finally get to wear the leather chaps of his dreams.

Tell me a little about yourself and your company.
I’ve been making clothes for people and their pets for many years, mostly doing commissioned work. A couple of which were sweaters and some fun evening wear for Alan Cummings’s dogs. I’m actually in the certificate program at [the Fashion Institute of Technology] in pet apparel design and marketing and decided that I really wanted to take this one step further and launch a new collection, called Turtlebacks, which is inspired by nature and made from earth-friendly materials.

So you make clothes for people as well?
I do. That’s the other part of my company — designing complementary pieces to go with the pet apparel. I’m starting out with two sweaters, the Turtlebacks signature sweater, which is inspired by the Diamondback Terrapin turtle and our very popular Birch Branch sweater, which is inspired by Birch Branch trees.

Why do you think pet clothing and accessories are so popular among gay consumers?
they’re like our children! So we like to dress them up. But also, dogs
need warm sweaters in the winter. Mainly it’s great to be walking them
down the street and have them look as fashionable as you do! And the
gay community knows how to do fashion.

We sure do. Speaking
of which, I’ve seen a lot of crazy outfits here. I’ve seen everything
from a terrier in a wig to a pair of bride-and-groom Chihuahuas. What is
next for pet fashion?

That’s tough. I can say I have some crazy
ideas for a line of bondage apparel for dogs for Pride. I’m also
working on some lingerie. I think the S/M community would love to
have their dogs in some little leather collars, harnesses, and
accessories like that.

Click through for more photos from Pet Fashion Week.