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Inside Scoop on New York Pet Fashion Show

One of the many gorgeous designs of famed canine couturier, Anthony Rubio

Glam, glitz, pageantry, and all the fashions that are en vogue and coming to a runway near you. Though the same could pass for an episode of Project Runway, dogs will take to the “catwalk” and strut their finest this Friday, February 7, in New York City. We’ve got the inside scoop on this year’s New York Pet Fashion Show.

The New York Pet Fashion Show kicks off at 6 pm this Friday at the historic Hotel Pennsylvania, right across from Madison Square Garden—home of the Westminster Kennel Club televised portion. Fidose of Reality has a runway-side seat for this hottest dog fashion ticket in town. We also have the inside scoop with three of the hottest names to be involved with this year’s event.

Since “bark” is the new black, here’s an insider scoop and behind-the-velvet-ropes sneak peek at what attendees can expect and why dogs who wear clothes is extraordinarily ordinary. These three fashion mavens each have a different perspective on what will happen this Friday at the NY Pet Fashion Show. Read on…

Shaughnessy, seen here with dog, Cuba, is the founder of Pawvogue, the world’s first pet fashion portal.

Fidose of Reality: What exactly is the NY Pet Fashion Show?

Bob Shaughnessy and dog, Cuba, New York City: The NY Pet Fashion Show is the largest Pet Fashion Show in the USA. People fly in from all over the country for this event and last year there were eight people from other countries who came for the show. They will have approximately 800 people and hundreds of dogs, both humans and dogs will be dressed for the event’s theme. This year the theme is Royalty. Cuba has an unbelievable costume made by Belle Diva Couture. Janice Craig has been working on the concept/ costume for months. It is more than just a costume,  but you will have to wait until February 7th to see it. This is the 10th anniversary of the NY Pet Fashion Show. Each year the venue changes somewhat and this year there are three Fashion Shows and award ceremonies between Shows. This year, they are raising money for the Mayor’s Alliance for Animals. NYC has a goal to be the first big City that has a NO KILL Shelter policy in 2015.

Editor’s note: We have known Bob and Cuba for many years, and Bob is the founder of PawVogue, which we encourage you to check out and learn more .We are wagging with vehement enthusiasm because we get to take part in these festivities with our dog, Dexter, and we get to see the crème de la crème of the pet couture world strut their stuff! Onward…

Cuba is always in fashion and oh so gorgeous, too.

Fidose of Reality: What exactly takes place at this fashion show?

Anthony Rubio, and dogs, Bogie and Kimba, New York City: For the first portion, vendors bring out their goods and services. They are also brought out on the runway to introduce their newest goods. This is followed by an awards ceremony for a myriad of achievements both human and canine. Lastly comes the fun part, the fashion show usually presented on the runway in the form of a competition, which I do not necessarily agree with because designers have their own esthetics and visions which should not be measured against one another. All of this culminates in a fun time of socializing and celebrating with our pets in our attendance.

Editor’s Note: We have known Anthony for many years, and we are fortunate that he is the mastermind of the tuxedo and the gown for the participants of the 2013 Fundraiser we hosted, Wigglebutt Wedding. His designs are breathtaking.

Rubio is well known in the pet fashion world,

Fidose of Reality:  We wonder about what new designers expect by partaking in this fashion show, so we call upon Jen DeHaan, pet blogger ( also has her own website with dog fashions and accessories,

Are you a designer and if not, tell me about your involvement in pet fashion?

Jen DeHaan and dog, Mort: I design and sew the clothing and other products for my business, Stylish Canine. Most of the  work I do is quite simple and functional, such as coats and shirts for cold weather, tag silencers in unique fabrics, or a super-dog cape to show off a little at a sport dog competition. And of course, a lot of collars and leashes with unique trims. I don’t have any set style or aesthetic that I adhere to – my ribbon and fabric collection goes right across the board in terms of type, color, and pattern. I try to offer a variety so there’s something suitable for every dog and their family.

My background is in web design, so I use some of those skills to design the t-shirt graphics and  embroidery from scratch. These designs, often originating from photos I take of dogs I know, end up on some of the dog-themed products I make such as t-shirts and decals.

Mort models one of the capes designed by Jen DeHaan.

Editor’s Note: We will be photographing DeHaan’s couture in the pet fashion show, so watch for photographs and video of the gala next week on Fidose of Reality.

Do the Dogs Dig It?

Fidose of Reality:  What would you like folks to know who feel all this pomp and circumstance is unnecessary and that dogs are not “into” clothes?

Bob Shaughnessy and dog, Cuba: Just like anything else dogs learn very quickly to enjoy being dressed up, as it gives them all that much more time with their family, and to dogs that is their number one agenda, to spend as much time with family as possible next to maybe eating human food. Most families leave their dog home when attending parties and events but if you attend a pet fashion event, the entire family is out together and the dog could not be happier.

Doesn’t Cuba look happy to be oh so fashionable?

Jen DeHaan and dog, Mort: Pet fashion ranges from the fun to the practical, and it can be a great way to connect with and pay attention to our canine companions. I hear quite often that people with large dogs feel left out when it comes to fashion, clothing, and  accessories. And that is probably true for most store-bought products that are manufactured  with set sizing. However, there are many custom options available for big dogs – myself, and  many other sew-ists are excited to custom-fit our handmade products. I once made a super dog  cape for a Great Dane, and a dog collar to fit a Mastiff with a 34 inch neck! Check out sites like Etsy, and search the web for sites that offer handmade products for dogs, and you’re likely to  find someone to help make a truly unique outfit for a dog of any size.

Ever ready to merge fashion with function, Mort is one of DeHaan’s muses.

Anthony Rubio, and dogs, Bogie and Kimba: I would like to enlighten folks to the fact that we dress our pets with great joy, pride and love. We do not force them nor torment them because to us they are family members. Lastly I advise that when people choose to dress their pets that they take into consideration the safety and comfort of the pet. If the pet demonstrates that they do not like or want it then please respect that and do not force them. We dress them to celebrate them so keep it simple and do not over do it. This is a living creature and not a Christmas tree. Bring out their beauty without obscuring them.

wigglebutt wedding
Dexter and bride Zoe wearing designs by Anthony Rubio, Photo courtesy Nancy Hassel, Long Island Pet Professionals.

Why Do They Do It?

Coverage of the crown jewel of pet fashion shows would not be complete without asking our special guests why they do this in the first place. So just why do they get their dogs into fashion?

Shaughnessy: When Cuba was a puppy a friend gave him a Ralph Lauren sweater which he looked adorable wearing. Then as we started to socialize Cuba and go to different parties and events in NYC, many dogs would be dressed up for the parties, so Cuba started wearing clothes too. Cuba was asked to do some modeling jobs for different dog clothing lines and he soon equated wearing clothes with going on a modeling job, which meant lots of treats or going to a party. He gets excited when he sees me go into his closet. Also every benefit Cuba attends is to help raise money for dog shelters or charities.

He’s ready for his close up!

We met Ada Nieves, NYC’s Premier Pet Designer and she had Cuba and Tasha (Cuba’s girlfriend) modeling for an infomercial and we soon became very involved in the whole social scene of NYC Pet Fashion. The rest is history.

Rubio: What I love about dog fashion is that it is something relatively new and exciting and since I started I’ve pushed the envelope taking design from just plain little mass produced store bought frocks to works of art. I figured that If people could purchase high fashion better known as “Haute Couture” then why shouldn’t that be made available for dogs? I decided from the start that I would not do cookie cut out but instead create one of a kind masterpieces. For me it is a challenge especially to enhance the beauty of the dog rather than obscure it. I love to bring out the dog’s personality.

Bella Mia models one of Rubiio’s breathtaking designs.

DeHaan: I love how dog fashion connects people with their dogs, their dogs with other people, and is often a great conversation-starter too.  Putting something unique or different on my dog puts a smile on my face, and hopefully on the faces of others. My active dog is also an attention seeker, for the most part, and craves attention from friendly people. About a year ago I decided to make a red cape for Mort’s “graduation” presentation for Stunt Dog class. He ended up getting a lot of attention and smiles, and he adored every minute of it! It taught me a lot about the difference a piece of fabric attached to your dog can make. But more importantly, I found a great way to socialize my dog with people in a positive way. Because fashion can be so attention-grabbing, it is wonderful in association with shelter and rescue dogs. Put a flashy bandana, dog t-shirt, cape, or a pair of shades on a dog for adoption to help him or her be noticed by potential adopters at an event or online. This is one of the things I hope to do more of with my business this year, both as an “attention grabber” for the dogs who need a home, and as a fundraiser for the groups rescuing them. Humans noticing, smiling, and giving positive attention to dogs is an excellent way for them to socialize with friends and strangers, and for dogs to understand good things come from all kinds of people. Having fun with your own dog and doing activities (that may include costumes or clothing) is a wonderful way to bond and socialize too. These are the things that I love the most about pet fashion.

Rubio with his boys, Bogie, and Kimba.

Who Are We Wearing?

This is one question I get goosebumps answering, and our dog, Dexter, is wearing a custom tuxedo from our friends at Spoiled Pup Boutique. We love their apparel because it is easy to wear, the dogs are comfortable in it, it travels wear, and is oh so cute. Spoiled Pup Boutique is the designer of the bridesmaid and groomsmen couture worn by the bridal party at the Wigglebutt Wedding. Stay tuned, as Dexter will be attending a few events in New York City this week and modeling two different Spoiled Pup Boutique designs.

Wigglebutt Wedding bridal party – many wearing designs from Spoiled Pup Boutique. Photo courtesy Luminaria Photography.

Follow all the coverage and get more info on the New York Pet Fashion Show by visiting

Links To Our Esteemed Guests

Pawvogue (

Anthony Rubio Designs (

Stylish Canine (

Dexter is ready for the fashion fun in NYC!

QUESTION: Does your dog wear clothes?

We bet some of our friends below allow their pets to wear clothes! It’s a BlogPaws blog hop – check out our buddies:

A dog lover of the highest order is how Gayle King introduced Carol Bryant, when she appeared with her Cocker Spaniel on Oprah Radio’s Gayle King show to dish dogs. Carol created and owns the trademark, My Heart Beats Dog® and lives that mantra. A 30-year veteran of the dog world, she is President of the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) and the 2020 DWAA winner for Best Dog Blog.


  1. Dawn says

    Those are some really cute clothes. And those gowns are fabulous! I haven’t really tried putting clothes on Maya and Pierson. A scarf or doggie bow tie here and there, but never longer than needed to take a photo. I never really felt they needed clothes. Sephi, on the other hand, always wore a scarf. It was her trademark. And I remember dressing up my childhood dog Cassie. She loved playing dress-up with me.

  2. Cuba says

    We are so delighted Dexter and his Mom’s are coming to NYC this week. It will be exciting to see them at the PupScout Event on 2/6, which is also having a Fashion Show. Dexter (his wife) and Moms will be sitting with us at the NY Pet Fashion Show 2/7 and we are so excited to share their first experience at this show.
    Thanks for the great article too.
    We can’t wait ……………..
    I also do a radio/blog show on Pet Fashion and other related Dog issues. This week, we will be talking with Stephanie Mattera, spokesperson for the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC Animals, which we are raising money for at the events this weekend. My show can be found at

  3. Furfilled says

    Hi! This was an interesting and well-written article. I’ve never really been familiar with the dog fashion scene, but it’s always impressive to learn about people who are at the top of their field. I would love to see some more interesting work on the sporty side of things. I have a white shepherd/husky mix, and we tend towards more urban/sporty functional fashion. Thanks for posting.

  4. Pawesome Cats says

    A great post and sounds like a fabulous event, next year I might just have to be one of the international attendees. Love Cuba’s fashion sense…I could be converted from Team Cat to Team Dog ;0

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