The Dog Walk: Canine Chic, Companion Animals and Consumer Culture

In: Fashion-Wise

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From Hound Style to Humane Society Fur Balls, from Scotties modelling Juicy Couture hoodies and Ralph Lauren polo shirts, dressing up our pups has moved beyond the tying of a bandana around the neck of a retriever or the attiring of a Chihuahua in a rain coat. Canine chic is a billions of dollars per annum industry, an extension of what Lipovetsky called consummate fashion, the sphere where conspicuous consumption and leisure; mass markets and advertising; and a love of change and fads have extended fashion into broader realms of collective life. Dogs, sentient non-human beings that have willingly adapted to living with we humans, have been folded into this global empire of fashion. Doggy ‘nudity’ is passé, while dressing up one’s pup for the ‘dog walk’ is au courant. But canine chic is more than barking mad fun; it is a social movement, a major consumer culture trend, and an apparel and lifestyle business, complete with annual pet fashion weeks. Fashion for Fido is of inherent interest for those who find the trend amusing, worrisome, or quite simply ridiculous. This chapter will move beyond the fun and the moralising and examines the trend itself and the ethical issues involved in making dogs fashionistas.

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