I have no hard data, but anecdotal evidence and online research suggest that Japan is the world’s Number 1 dog dressing nation. The size and breed range of dogs involved, the array and elaborateness of their outfits, the variety of events providing canine fashion occasions, the widespread enthusiasm for the practice… Japan rules the roost in all couture categories.
Today I’ll focus only on informal — as opposed to ceremonial — dog dressing.
I know, dressing small dogs is controversial. It’s infantilizing, many contend, leading dogs to be treated as accessories rather than as living creatures. No question: finding outfits for small dogs is not very challenging. But a book of crafts patterns being sold on e-Bay (until June 7) suggest that some Japanese guardians of diminutive dogs are taking a more difficult and creative fashion path. If Paris Hilton were to personally knit her Chihuahuas’ outfits, she would take the pups more seriously, don’t you think?
At the other end of the size and style spectrum is the sporty pup captured by Jeanie and Mike Colaianni and sent to their daughter, Courtney, in Tucson. The Colaiannis have been living in Japan for five years; Jeanie in particular has become quite an expert on local dog fashion. This pooch was chosen as a photo subject not only for his stylish Peanuts basketball jersey — don’t ask me what that’s about — but because he reminded Mike of Courtney’s Sheltie, Sammy (who generally goes without clothes).