Finding an outfit that suits my dog - An Interview with Panchos wardrobe
Have you ever considered giving your furbaby a wardrobe of accessories and outfits? You might do this to keep them warm in the cold weather or maybe because your furry loved one simply loves to be cosy and stylish?
Today we interviewed Alexis about her pet's fashion company 'Panchos Wardrobe' to find out why she swapped from people fashion to pets fashion...
What made you decide to step away from women’s fashion and instead start a new career in dog fashion?
Several reasons- I had been in the fashion industry for 9 years at the time, and although I loved it, I had dreams of working for myself. At the same time, my life with my 3 chihuahuas was inspiring me to explore the dog clothing world. Although I loved what I found in places like the USA, Hong Kong and Japan, ( I was lucky enough that my job was sending me to places like this!) I didn't like the offering I found in the UK, and saw a gap in the market I thought maybe I could fill, and that's how Pancho’s wardrobe came about.
Which is your favourite piece of clothing or accessory in your store?
Probably the Hawaiian shirt. I worked really hard to design a print that was just for us, that no-one else could ever sell, and had the fabric made up with a super soft vintage wish to put on it too to feel authentic. I also worked equally hard on the fit so that it would be as comfortable as possible for the dog to wear as that is always one of my most important concerns.
Which is the favourite for Pancho?
The original nautical navy stripe t-shirt. I think it looks great on him and has a special meaning as it was the first thing I designed for our company and was inspired by our life by the beach.
What has been the most unusual pet fashion item you have seen on your travels around the world?
In Japan, they have whole Disney outfits for dogs, which almost envelop the dog to look like the character, with sometimes only its head showing! I'm not sure I would put my dogs in it though!
Do you have a new collection in the works for 2019?
Yes… I will be releasing some new versions of the Hawaiian shirt, with on-trend prints that can be worn all year round, not just in the summer.
You have mentioned previously that you manufacture your clothes in India, how much of the process is outsourced and how much is hand finished?
All my clothing so far has been made from start to finish in the factory, this ensures continuity and quality. I was very lucky to work with my connections from the fashion industry to use a factory that would make small limited runs for me using high-quality fabrics leftover from human clothing. However our bandanas, treat bags, and other accessories have always been hand made by myself, and I am going to use my own talents some more this year as the new shirts for Spring 2019 will be hand made also.
From your furry family we see small dogs seem to be your main market, can you cater for bigger dogs too? Which is the largest breed you can make clothes for?
Before I started designing I did extensive research into dog clothes and dog sizing. I noticed very few people put dog clothing on large dogs, and when they did it would be very functional jackets etc.
I wanted my product to stay on the fun fashion side of dog clothing, with some practical pieces too, so that's why I decided to focus on the small dog market only. We have some product in a “Large” that fits a whippet or working cocker spaniel, but most of our product finishes at a “medium”, which fits a Jack Russell, pug, or King Charles spaniel sized dog.
However, I always make bandanas in big sizes for the dog shows we attend, so everyone feels like they can own a little piece of Panchos wardrobe!
Photo Credit: @ourwonderwinnie
How long will a customisable piece take to make?
I currently don't make anything custom made, although if our new shirt range goes well maybe we will look into this. I do add harness holes when people request them though, which is a reasonably quick job...although you have to be very precise for me!