Cat Wisdom 101 Review

From Cat Wisdom 101

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More cats are being leash-trained as a safer option to exploring the outdoors but they require a safe harness. At a recent pet product event in New York, I discovered the perfect solution for walking dogs or cats from Central Park Pups. The young, New York-based company is a labor of love by owner Karine who has designed The Hidden Harness an all-in-one coat, harness and collar with moisture repellent fleece and built-in nano tech features like UV protection, anti-microbial and mosquito repellent.

When I leash trained Odin, I could never find a harness he couldn’t wriggle out of like Houdini. Cords and leads would tangle making it a headache getting him in and out. The Hidden Harness is a step-in harness with an easy to adjust Velcro closure resulting in no neck strain. I got Odin into the harness and out the door in 10 seconds. Beautifully crafted, strong, comfortable and attractive, the Hidden Harness is genius!

Taking your cat or dog for a walk will be a walk in the park. Dogs are used to enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of nature but cats love sniffing bushes, rolling in leaves, digging and scratching too! Odin rarely uses a scratching post because he prefers nature’s own, a tree.

The matching leash (sold separately) is super strong, the cushioned handle is comfortable to hold. The cute “pooch pouch” holds ID, keys, treats, money and poop bag means you can be hands-free for your walk. Visit Central Park Pups for up close details, sizing chart and video. The medium fit Odin but he has a very, long torso.

Bark & Swagger

Ingenuity & Resourcefulness Abound at the FIT Dog Fashion Show

FIT Fashion Show 2014-Bark Smart ticket-crop

Your ticket to the best of the FIT Dog Fashion Show

Vegan fashion, eco fashion, pop culture meets couture…it was all represented beautifully at the sixth annual FIT Dog Fashion Show. Celebrating socially responsible and sustainable canine apparel and accessories, the event – entitled BARK Smart – showcased the work of student and alumni designers from the FIT Center for Professional Studies’ Pet Product Design and Marketing certificate program. That’s a mouthful, yes! However, it’s the only program of its kind in the world, and it’s at the renowned Fashion Institute of Technology. So, the bar is set high, and I was anticipating discovering developing design stars. I wasn’t disappointed. Ingenuity and resourcefulness were in full display, and those developing design stars…well, take a look.

New York Fashion Week Meets Project Runway

For many of these fledgling designers, official recognition from this show is akin to placing at the Olympics because of the cache FIT wields. The program facilitator is Kris Lynch, who helped tutor me when I started my Couture by Sophie design brand. As a working member of the pet industry for years, she knows her stuff. The show was judged by pet fashion designer extraordinaire Ada Nieves, who was the first to graduate from the FIT Pet Product Design and Marketing program; celebrity stylist, tv personality and AIM Model Management owner/director, Nole Marin and Gala Darling, a jewelry designer and the founder of Blogcademy.

The three designers who were honored with a bronze, silver or gold placement, best exemplified socially responsible and sustainable fashion.  “We selected products that embody the theme of being a smart owner and consumer when it comes to one’s pet and investing in products – food, care, toys, accessories, habitat, and apparel that stress health, nutrition, protection, safety, and comfort and positively affect the environment,” said Joan Volpe, managing coordinator of the FIT Center for Professional Studies. “These translate into organic fabrications and ingredients, breathable synthetics, and cut and fit that take animal anatomy into consideration and result in items that are comfortable and natural for an animal to wear.”

So without further adieu, here are the three winning designers:FIT Dog Fashion Show's winning designers on Bark and Swagger

Left to right: Karine Ng, ShinJeo Park & Nicole Wilson

The Gold Standard

South Korean designer, ShinJeo Park, took the top honor. For me, she is definitely someone to watch. I loved her designs, especially a Marilyn Monroe nod to pop culture, shown below, called Mainly Monroe. This jacket, made from cream-colored heavier weight canvas, was emblazoned with a photo-printed fabric of Marilyn Monroe, framed in black  felt-like fabric with a lacey pattern. It was definitely a statement piece, and the fit was superb. ShinJeo’s inspiration is how much we Americans love our dogs, and how they relate to one another. She finds the way dogs interact with one another intriguing, especially male and female dogs, and wanted to make a statement  about that interaction being sexy. Marilyn Monroe was the perfect fit.

ShinJeo already had a successful career in luxury marketing and graphic design in South Korea. She moved to New York at 40 to pursue her passion for fashion accessory design. She’s currently working as a hat designer and is also making pet clothing. Her designs are informed by the modern lines of city life juxtaposed with abstract and softened lines derived from nature. With ShinJeo’s eye for shape, graphics and overall design, if she sets her sights on dog apparel full time…watch out! [email protected]

FIT Dog Fashion Show winning designers on Bark and Swagger

Shinjeo Park’s Marilyn Monroe design

Stellar Silver

Nicole Wilson is a really interesting designer. She’s still an FIT student, so her design company isn’t fully launched yet. But I love how she’s explored the use of vegan and eco-friendly materials, creating practical designs with flair. She called her collection Retro Rebirth, drawing inspiration from vintage menswear and incorporating lots of texture, with a neutral color palette. Her Phoenix bomber jacket, modeled by Nicole’s Alaskan Klee Kai, Dakota, was adorable, mixing white, organic cotton twill with self-quilted cotton chambray sleeves. The faux pockets were made from black cork leather, actual bonded cork fused to fabric. She also used ultrasuede, made from 100% plastic, in her pieces.  Dakota wore a canvas and cork leather collar and matching leash with this outfit on the runway.

Nicole hails from Toronto. She pursued her dream of attending FIT, graduating with a BFA in Intimate Apparel. In the summer of 2012, Wilson adopted Dakota and began designing for him, so she enrolled in the FIT pet design program. Her goal is to create fashions that are sophisticated and well-suited to the city dog. I think she’s well on her way! [email protected]

FIT Dog Fashion Show winning designers on Bark and Swagger

Dakota in the Phoenix Bomber Jacket

Bright Bronze

Karine Ng, of Central Park Pups, is a problem-solver for pet parents and she does it with style. Her jackets have a harness built right in, so getting your pup ready for a walk is a one-two-skidoo. She uses interesting materials like her safety features – reflective trims for easy to spot Spot, and nano technology, which makes her fleece garments liquid resistant and anti-microbial. Pretty cool. Her motto is “Where safety is built into the style,” and it is.

It was her love of her Shih Tzu, Chewie, that inspired her to create dog clothes. With an already successful career in retail, real estate and marketing, Karine had the tools to take her passion to the next level. The classic architecture and contemporary fashion of New York City serves as her inspiration. www.centralparkpups.com. Here’s a pic of her preppy camel toggle coat, with harness attached.

FIT Dog Fashion  Show winners on Bark and Swagger

Karine Ng, with her pup, Chewie in the camel toggle coat with harness attached

Family Choice Award

The Hidden Harness by Central Park Pups

The Hidden Harness is a dog coat with a built in adjustable step-in harness- both stylish and safe for your pup. No need for a separate harness, collar, and coat, this 3-in-1 combo item makes it easier for owners to outfit their dog in ONE EASY STEP. The Hidden Harness is so quick to put on that you and your pup are ready for a walk and out the door in seconds! The Hidden Harness was designed with safety in mind, with some styles using the latest Nano-Technology allowing the product to be Liquid Resistant, Mosquito Repellant, Anti-Microbial, and UV-Protective. The safe and secure built in harness has a reflective trim for greater visibility, an additional D-Ring for ID tag placement, and causes no neck strain to your precious pup! The Hidden Harness also comes with a matching cushion grip leash for extra comfort and a detachable pooch pouch, an ID window and pouch perfect for treats, poop bags, money, and keys, anything you need on the go! Easy, safe, stylish, and quick to put on, The Hidden Harness is everything your pup needs for a strut around the park. The Hidden Harness by Central Park Pups, Where Safety is Built in to the Style!

The Hidden Harness by Central Park Pups