Dogs on the Catwalk

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These dogs looked fierce coming down the runway.

Decked out in designs by students in the Institute of Technology’s pet product design and marketing professional development certificate program, the 14 model dogs married New Yorkers’ love of and . “Last Bark For Bryant Park,” produced for the second year by undergraduates majoring in advertising and market communications, was held the evening of April 12 at the Institute of Technology, on West 27th Street.

“It went very well, once the lights went out,” said assistant professor Linda Finnerty, whose class helped put on the show.

“Pets are a big part of our culture,” said Dr. Joyce Brown, the college’s president, whose male bichon frise, Bebe, closed the show by strutting down the cat—dog?—walk in a miniature tuxedo, complete with top hat.

Bebe closes the show in a miniature tuxedo, complete with top hat. Photo by Daniel S. Burnstein

The pet industry, she pointed out, is a $4 billion industry.

“I think it’s worth exploring, to try to tap into something that brings so much joy to people,” Brown said.

“It’s a great opportunity for people who are in the program to display their best product possible,” said Joan Volpe, managing coordinator of FIT’s center for professional studies. “These people have all been to college, they’ve put in lots of hard work, and it’s their chance to expose themselves and their work to potential customers.”

At the end of the night, nine of the 25 designs on display were chosen by Mario DiFante, executive director of Pet Fashion Week New York, to accompany the show on tour to Japan and Brazil later this year.

“It was great to see one of my outfits on a real live dog. I hadn’t seen that before,” said designer Lisa Barnes, whose Turtlebacks organic wool knit sweater was among those selected by DiFante. “I was very excited to be chosen. [The show] is such an opportunity, because I’m just getting started.”

Designs were done by students in FIT’s pet product design and marketing professional development certificate program. Photo by Daniel S. Burnstein

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