I am often asked how it came to be that Active Creatures morphed from women’s dance clothing, to yoga clothing, to now incorporating dog coats, and more broadly dog clothes in each of our collections. I’d love to say that it was my brilliant idea, but truth be known it wasn’t.
In 2015 when we were designing pole dance shorts, our customers were tagging us into their Instagram and Facebook posts, showing us their latest bad ass trick in Active Creatures hot pants shorts. Obviously we marvelled at the strength and athleticism of these incredible women, guns blazing amidst their bralette or crop top, but after numerous posts coming through, Cameron (my husband and co-founder) and I started to notice something else…
In so many of the posts there was a dog in the photo. The dog might have been lying on a dog bed passed out and unaware of the feats being attempted by his owner, or the dog was an active participant; jumping around, trying to lick mum as she hung from the pole, in proud acknowledgement that mum had just nailed a new pole dance trick.
It was at this time that Cameron and I decided that these beautiful furbabies should be dressed by Active Creatures too, so we got busy designing our first ever dog coat. As it so often goes in life, your first attempt at many things is less than perfect, and ours was no exception. Winter dog coats needed far more insulation to keep doggie warm and comfortable that we had foreseen, and we really didn’t understand how awkward some dogs were at getting in and out of dog jackets. So we ended up with a dog sweater that was more like gym wear than it was dog clothing! What was awesome about the dog sweater though was that is was a complete, 100% matchy-matchy attempt at dressing mum and pooch in exactly the same active wear print!
So not to be deterred by my fashion faux pas and completely missing the functional design elements of the best dog coats, I took the designs through to production and staged our first photo shoot with models and canines! For models who were used to selling clothing, the introduction of puppies and cute little toy poodles instantly saw them relax and have fun. In turn, the dogs chilled out and the shots we got on that day were incredible!
So much so that weeks later, once the collection had gone live, Cameron got a call from a major retailer wanting to meet us and discuss stocking our dog coats and dog jackets in their stores nationally. I still laugh when I think about the dog jumpers we took in to show them at our first meeting. Obviously by now they’d seen the dog jumpers in our photos, but live and in the flesh, you could see they were being, well polite, about the need for us to ditch what we thought we knew about designing for doggies and instead get focused on designing the best dog coats we could, while still delivering on our woman and pooch matchy-matchy concept.
Never ones to look a gift horse in the mouth, we heeded their advice and got started on our next athleisure collection, where the women’s workout leggings matched back to the dog coats.
I was so proud of our first "proper" collection. Our dog jackets were warm, soft to touch, comfortable and still in keeping with our active wear theme. Don’t get me wrong though, as a designer – and a Virgo (!) – I see the flaw in everything I design so before we’d even launched the collection, I was already penning the improvements that could be made ahead of our next collection.
That brings me to today. Pets are amongst our best friends, who hang around us and provide such inspiring energy day and night! So we’ve continued to develop new dog clothing that reflects their role in our families. From dog tanks, dog tees and dog bean bags and Ottomans, nothing is off limits!!
Already work is near finalised for our upcoming Winter 2020 Collection. The active wear in this collection, matched back to the dog coats is shaping up to be unlike anything we’ve done previously. If you live for unique and fun, you’ll totally get this collection
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