Designer Hu Xi has turned her love of dogs and clothes into a living, hand-making over 1,000 outfits from bridal gowns to police uniforms.
Chinese designer Hu Xi is taking the lead in pet couture
Hu opened China's first pet fashion studio in 2000, and her outfits now sell for up to 100 US Dollars, equal to two weeks salary for a Chinese construction worker.
Not all dogs like wearing clothes, says the 27-year-old designer, but a good, comfortable outfit can do wonders for a dog's confidence.
(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) PET CLOTHING DESIGNER HU XI SAYING:
"When my dogs go out they always wear shoes and they change clothes every day. When we go out and everyone crowds around to look at them, they feel like "I'm the most beautiful dog of all," and they start to think they're too good for everyone else."
Hu has made over 1,000 outfits for her own six dogs, finding inspiration from the streets of Beijing as well as Western pop culture.
Doting husband Chen Kun, a professional pet photographer, documents her designs, while the hand-made quality keeps customers like Zhang Mengyi coming back.
(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) REGULAR CUSTOMER ZHANG MENGYI SAYING:
"I think of my dogs just like my own children, so of course I like to dress them up and make them look more beautiful. I also want my friends to like them. Ultimately, I think their wearing clothes satisfies my emotional needs."
A boom in pet ownership in recent years has alarmed Chinese authorities, who now restrict the size of dogs in cities like Beijing.
But until they introduce a "one-dog" policy, Hu and her colourful, four-legged companions will continue dressing in style.
Max Duncan, Reuters
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