GOING TO THE DOGS: For its latest business venture, Badgley Mischka has partnered with the pet fashion company K9Wear to create primo apparel for dogs.
As their three dogs scampered in the background during a Friday morning Zoom interview, cofounders and head designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka explained why they needed no convincing: the pair had six dogs at one point, and they saw firsthand how every other shopper dropped into their Palm Beach store with their own dogs.
K9Wear is designed with an interchangeable hybrid harness and the Badgley Mischka outfits are secured onto that. Sequins, sparkles and fabrics that are derivative of the designers’ signature collection are available for the four-legged.
Badgley and Mischka are well aware that the pet industry has proven to be a pandemic-proof one. Ten percent of all people between the ages of 50 and 80 got a new pet between March 2020 and January 2021, according to the National Poll on Healthy Aging. All those pandemic pets have led to a boost in dog-centric bakeries, spas and grooming services across the country.
As their dachshunds Rommel, Whiskey and Wally romped around, Badgley said, “As you probably can tell from our background. We have a huge affinity for dogs. James and I have always loved dogs. We’ve been involved with a lot of dog rescues and dog charities.”
Accustomed to dressing their dogs to shield them from New York winters, Badgley said their dogs previously used to be uncomfortable in the apparel. However with the K9Wear harness, the garments attach so that the dogs do not feel confined or restricted. The canine looks will include rainwear, holiday and novelty looks including many styles that tie right into Badgley Mischka’s ready-to-wear designs. Each piece in the collection will be sold online for special order for $175. From Monday through Wednesday, a portion of the sales will benefit The North Shore Animal League.
Next season, bridalwear for dogs will be added. Bridal — for human brides — is an important business for the company and the founders are routinely asked to design something for the brides dogs. “It’s great for photography. It’s a great conversation piece. Dogs are family for most individuals. It really resonated with the consumer,” Badgley said.
To help spread the word about the K9Wear connection, Badgley Mischka has joined forces with social media influence Gabi DeMartino to serve as an ambassador. The designers are collaborating with her on her wedding rehearsal dress, as well as coordinating one for her dog “Lilian Rose.”
Looking ahead to New York Fashion Week in September, Badgley and Mischka said they are considering showing. Next month, they will introduce their third fragrance called “Sweet Bloom.” They have also renovated a loft in Tribeca at 466 Washington Street that is now being used as their showroom.