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The Tailored Canine - designer dogwear made in Chester

PUBLISHED: 00:01 20 March 2014

Luna, Chilli and Lollipop

Luna, Chilli and Lollipop

Archant

These canine clothes made in Chester are a must for every well-dressed doggie wardrobe, writes Paul Mackenzie

Arlo the dog in the Cheshire collection coatArlo the dog in the Cheshire collection coat

Arlo, Chilli, Lollipop and Luna are four of the best-dressed dogs you will ever see. Pictured here modelling the latest in canine couture (though not on a catwalk, we didn’t think they’d like that) the foursome are showing off some of the clothes designed by their owner Emma Prince.

Emma took up her needle and thread after not being able to find coats she liked for her dogs and she quickly realised there was a market for the clothes she was making. Other dog owners would see her chic chihuahuas and ask where their coats came from prompting Emma to begin selling her first basic range via Facebook in August.

‘I started because I couldn’t find coats to fit my dogs and I didn’t like the generic ones that are available,’ she said. ‘In December I decided to concentrate solely on the high end of the market, so now I make bespoke dog coats using quality materials.

‘I have made coats in various sizes which are available off-the-peg but I also offer a made to measure service where dogs come for a fitting and owners can choose materials, patterns and fastenings. The response has been fantastic.’

Emma Prince and Chilli the dog at workEmma Prince and Chilli the dog at work

The fabrics she uses include wool and tweed and all her coats are fleece lined. She also makes matching leads, blankets, toys, jumpers and has recently launched a new line of headwear including Baker Boy style hats and deerstalkers as well as sun visors.

As a child she dreamed of a career as a dress designer but left school to work in hairdressing at a Chester salon until she hung up her scissors to study geology and paleontology.

‘Fossils have always been a hobby and I wanted to learn more about them but I never stopped sewing,’ said Emma, who lives at Vicar’s Cross near Chester. ‘I have been sewing since I was five when my grandma taught me with her Singer sewing machine and throughout the course I was also teaching sewing and making dresses.’

Emma, 35, has been commissioned to make prom dresses and wedding dresses but has now put the frocks and the rocks to one side to concentrate on clothes for dogs.

‘The dog clothing market is growing beyond belief. Certain breeds of dog suffer in the cold weather. Small dogs don’t have the body heat and even bigger dogs benefit from wearing a warm waterproof coat.

‘But it’s not just about being practical, it’s about fashion too. We wear designer clothes, so why can’t our dogs? Anything a dog can wear, I can make. In the past I’ve made evening gowns, dog bridal dresses a denim dress with net underskirts.

‘It tends to be people who don’t have children who are really treating their dogs. Dogs seem to be the new children. It’s like that with me and my husband, we don’t have children but we do have four dogs.

‘If people want to look good and they have a dog, they will probably want their dog to look good as well. Whenever my dogs go out they are wearing their jumpers and coats and they look darlingly cute.’

The basic coats Emma started selling on Facebook last summer cost from £20 while the high end off-the-peg ranges are now priced at between £85 and £250. The bespoke service with fitting is £900.

Her coat collections, which can be seen on her website, thetailoredcanine.com and on her stall at this year’s Cheshire County Show, are named after Chilli, Lollipop, Arlo and Luna. All can be made to fit any breed and size of dog. ‘The coats are all hand made and they are all made with love and care and because they are all individually made, each one is different.’

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