I consider myself a dapper dog. I match my scarf to my harness, and my accessories accentuate my canine features. Finding your personal style can be tricky, but for fashion designer Dena Roberson, punk-rock threads and pets go paw-in-glove.
A Jacksonville native, Roberson has found her niche in pet fashion and is leaving her mark on the industry. She currently splits her time between Brooklyn, New York and Mexico, where she empowers indigenous woman by teaching manufacturing skills that allow them to strengthen human rights while creating quality products.
I followed the scent of soft cloth and sharp style to meet with her and bark about her motivation to redefine the dog fashion scene.
Davi: What does style mean to you?
Dena: Style is a form of expression—and in my case, creating a unique style that every dog can slay.
How do you select your fabrics?
We use only hypoallergenic fabric, like pima cotton and denim, that are safe for dogs, especially dogs with skin issues.
Do you design clothing to fit dogs of all shapes and sizes?
Our company is geared toward small dog breeds, but we know all dogs want to wear our urban threads, so this season we’re launching a new line to accommodate heartier breeds.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Old-school punk inspires me, and that led me to design a trendy punk-rock fashion line for pets, with sassy style and the right attitude.
What’s your most popular item?
Every dog loves the Army Denim Jacket! It rocks a barbed-wire cotton inner lining that keeps dogs warm, and handmade patches that woof style.
Are your designs functional as well as fun?
Absolutely! Functionality is a must for dogs. I strive to deliver what I call an effortless look–it’s where style meets simplicity.
How did you become interested in pet fashion design?
Raising my pup in Brooklyn, New York, I saw a boom in the pet fashion industry. It was incredible, and completely changed the way I viewed my own pet’s needs. So I enrolled at The Fashion Institute of Technology and studied Pet Products & Marketing.
What do you keep in mind when creating pet fashion?
Quality, comfort, safety and style.
How would you describe canine couture?
Quality, handcrafted artwork that’s specifically—and stylishly—measured for each breed.
What’s your most memorable challenge?
Each breed is built differently, which makes designing for every breed difficult, but it doesn’t stop me from trying to design for all canines.
How does your style influence the clothes you design for dogs?
I am passionate about punk-rock fashion and want to emulate old-school punk-rock couture for canines. Punk fashion carries an unmatched sassy aura and when we can proudly sport such cool fashion ourselves, then why not our furry friends?
Roberson has a knack for combining technical savvy with artistic flair to create distinctive clothing and products for pets. Her boutique, Barklyn New Yorkie, offers accessories that are fun, fresh and in style.
Her latest collection is an exquisite blend of fashion, music—and dogs—because anything humans can wear, pets can wear better!
For the latest in punk-rock fashions for pets, visit Barklyn.nyc.
Davi the dachshund doesn’t often admit it, but he loves a good catwalk.