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shows the idol's daily routine with her dog named Zero. In the videos

Time:2020-03-09 00:48Underwear site information Click:

Design Trend dog fashion

The canine apparel market has grown over the past few years as dogs became Koreans' favorite companion animal. Courtesy of FLOT

The canine apparel market has grown over the past few years as dogs became Koreans' favorite companion animal. Courtesy of FLOT  

By Park Ji-won

Dogs are changing the lifestyles of many Koreans as they fast become the nation's favorite companion animal. Some celebrities have called themselves self-proclaimed 'butlers' for their dogs, saying they put the pups ahead of anything else in their lives.

TV shows featuring dogs and their owners are popular in Korea. The online-based show "Petionista Taengoo" starring K-pop star Taeyeon, a member of Girls' Generation, shows the idol's daily routine with her dog named Zero. In the videos, she introduces must-have items for her dog while working and traveling throughout the day. She passionately devotes herself to taking care of Zero, referring to the pet as her 'baby'. Such programs have become some of the most popular TV shows here, as the number of pet owners in the country has risen to approximately 10 million. According to the Korea Rural Economic Institute, companion animals will represent a 6 trillion won market in 2027.

Some say that the popularity of pet dogs has reshaped the way Koreans' think about the animal, with many owners treating their canine pets as they would a baby or family member, and spending enormous amounts of time and money tending to their every need.

For many, this affection has grown into activism, as more and more citizens become vocal supporters of animal rights.

Animal rights activists joined hands recently to put pressure on lawmakers to pass a set of bills designed to improve animal rights in Korea, including one calling for punitive measures for those who are violent towards animals.

Koreans' growing interest in raising pet dogs and their rights has paved the way for the expansion of the dog apparel market.

To curry favor with dog lovers, canine fashion labels are unveiling tailored, canine fashion made with comfortable fabric and unique designs.

No real fur or leathers

Experts say that one taboo in the animal fashion industry in Korea is using real fur or leather in animal clothing products. With most owners aware of the sometimes-brutal process of creating fur or leather goods, buying them for their pets, for many, is out of the question.

"Some companies make puffer jackets for dogs by using goose filling like the one for people. However, we maintain our principles of making products without using animal materials, or with materials which were processed under an animal-friendly environment. So, we only use fake leather and fake fillings or use anti-allergenic and eco-friendly fabrics," Hwang In-cheol, co-CEO of FLOT, a dog clothing brand, said.

FLOT, which stands for 'Four Legs One Tail', is a dog apparel startup that has become well-known among dog lovers for its advanced garment designs, which use 'dog factors' to adjust their clothing according to specific breeds such as poodles and Maltese dogs, two of the most common types here.

Until recently, there were few dog clothing brands using in-house designers to create original garments. Most clothes have till now been mass produced in and imported from China, however the demand for diverse designs from customers has grown in recent years, encouraging and diversifying the market.

Comfortable clothes are best

The canine apparel market has grown over the past few years as dogs became Koreans' favorite companion animal. Courtesy of FLOT

Seen in this undated photo is a dog wearing new item from Cote A Cote. Courtesy of Cote A Cote  
FLOT releases some 15 to 30 clothing designs per season, including its steady-sellers and new releases ― inspired by the canine form, and human fashion trends, as well.

"Needless to say, we make dog clothes which are preferred by (human) customers. We also consider the color trends of the year. But, what matters is to apply specific color combinations which go with the color of dogs' fur or skin," Hwang added.

Industry officials say that the most important thing when making dogs clothes, however, is to ensure that they are comfortable.

"Fabric is important when making dogs apparel. Unlike people, a layered look can make dogs feel uncomfortable, meaning a garment made out of a single fabric would attach more easily to dog's skin. Therefore, our company pays attention to choosing fabrics which don't bother dogs' skin. In most cases, we use cotton," Kim Ji-hye, co-CEO and designer of Cote A Cote, said.

Her company also focuses on small details, especially when designing holes and curves in the cloth, as dogs may be made uncomfortable by a fabric if moving a lot.

"We make our patterns to minimize contact with a dogs' skin, so that dogs can wear them comfortably. For example, we make a bigger neck hole than other brands in general. We take into consideration the dogs' movement a lot in the designs…. We put fewer accessories or details and try to be simple."

Being fashionable still matters

This is not to say that being fashionable is not important when it comes to dressing canine pets. Many owners chose to buy expensive designer products in order to secure the most stylish garments for their animals.

Miminko, an animal fashion brand of fashion company Olive de Olive, sells original dog and cat clothes ranging from dresses to underwear ― a diverse lineup for a dog fashion brand.

The company puts an emphasis on making trendy garments for pets. Olive de Olive was the first big fashion company in Korea to create a brand for pet-only fashion products.

In Japan, fashion companies have long sold diverse types of clothes designed for specific breeds, and now the trend is taking off here in Korea. An increasing number of companies have started to diversify their pattern designs as customers demand more sophisticated products.

"Customers want to buy clothes similar to that of human beings… People from neighboring countries like Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong bought our products in the past looking for unique designs (that they cannot buy in their local markets.) But now customers from other continent such as France and the United Kingdom, buy our clothes," Kim said.

Some companies are trying to expand fashion lineups tailored to specific breeds in response to market demand.

"We are currently releasing average-sized clothes. But to meet rising demands asking for designed products fit to certain types of dogs, we are planning to add to our lineup in the upcoming fall season so that more dogs, which do not fit in ordinary sizes, such as dachshunds, and the dogs common in Korea like poodles, can wear our products," Hwang added.


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