By Ashley Yeaman
At Baylor, fashion has gone to the dogs.
Outfits made especially for dogs by Baylor apparel design students have won top prizes at the Fashion Group International Dallas Career Day competition and have also raised more than $12,000 to benefit Texas animal rescue shelters.
Jaynie Fader, a lecturer in the family and consumer sciences department, incorporated the Four Legged Fashion portion of the Career Day competition into her advanced apparel production and evaluation course two years ago as a special assignment for students.
Fader said the project initially began as a challenge for herself and her students.
“I own dogs, but I had never made something for dogs specifically,” she said, “There aren’t really any books out there on how to make garments for dogs. I got the measurements and worked on making a dog form for students to use. It’s a constant thing trying to find one that’s accurate.”
Students have overcome the difficulties of unfamiliar measurements to make outfits that showcase their creativity.
Gatesville sophomore Mia Berry, an apparel design and product development major, combined two of her sketches for her final entry into the 2011 Career Day competition.
“I had one that was a little bit plain, and one with a detailed collar, and Ms. Fader told me to put them together,” Berry said. “I couldn’t figure out how to make the collar at first, because I wanted it to look like fur, but it couldn’t be. I ultimately used yarn for the effect.”
Edmond, Okla., sophomore Claire Major, an apparel design and product development major, also sought a unique design.
“I wanted to make something that was like a coat, because most of the pictures I had seen were of dresses,” Major said. “I decided on the pea coat design with antique buttons, and then made tons of sketches.”
After their work is submitted, the students’ projects are evaluated by Fader, other faculty members and an individual who works in the pet apparel industry.
The best garments are submitted into the Dallas Career Day competition category “Four Legged Fashion: Canine Meets Couture.”
Berry and Major were able to see their designs on the runway at the Dallas Career Day 2011 competition. The competition was held this past spring.
“If it appears on the runway, then it’s blocked [to win], which is great,” Major said. “That was really exciting.”
Berry’s entry placed first and Major’s placed third, beating out hundreds of other submissions from around the country.
After the winners were announced in April, the garments were donated to Four Legged Fashion Fund to be auctioned off at the May 2011 “Pup-tail” party, along with outfits created by professional designers.
The proceeds from the auction are used to fund local animal shelters.
Baylor has had three students place in the Four Legged Fashion category of the Dallas Career Day competition in the past two years.
Along with Berry and Major, Austin junior Kaylyn Smith, a fashion design major, placed second in the Dallas Career Day competition in 2010 in the Four Legged Fashion category.
The three entries combined have sold at auction for more than $12,000.
Creating these outfits has not only benefited animals, but also the student designers by providing skills and experience in a growing career field, said Fader.
“Sales of luxury pet apparel products continue to expand,” Fader said. “The strong pet industry produced over $47.7 billion in sales on pet-related products in 2010.”
The many benefits of students entering the competition matches Baylor’s mission, Fader said.
“This opportunity blend[s] academic information, business growth opportunities and a strong dedication [to] community service,” Fader said.
Students will have the chance to compete and learn again on April 13, 2012 at the next Fashion Group International Dallas Career Day.