In today’s blog, we interview Dave Snow, Director of the innovative dog apparel and dog accessories brand Park Barkers.
We discuss the wonderful ways that their stunning collections come together and get an idea of the process behind making products that are not only good quality, functional and stylish but ethical too.
Can you tell us a bit about Park Barkers?
Park Barkers is based in Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia and seeks to do bring together considered design for the modern dog (and owner).
Functional essentials are reimagined with new fabrics, innovative details, ethical sourcing and a clean aesthetic. At Park Barkers, we work to minimise our impact on the world. This includes taking a cruelty-free approach to our design, materials and manufacturing. We use vegan-leather options that are durable and easy to clean.
Another aspect of our ethical sourcing includes an investigation of ideas of recycling. From recycled rubbers and plastics in our polyesters to our work with artists to reinvent discarded works, we explore the different dimensions and expressions of recycling.
In support of the work independent charitable organisations make to the welfare and rights of animals, Park Barkers gives 5% of all sales to a nominated registered charity. This season, Park Barkers is proud to support Beagle Rescue Victoria.
Pictured above: Park Barkers Red Vegan Leather Hyde Dog Collar
What did you get the inspiration for your brand?
The inspiration for the brand has drawn from so many places. From homewares and furniture to outerwear for humans. These have all been filtered with the lens of my personal commitment to the idea of cruelty-free living.
I have always found it difficult to reconcile my love of all animals with the use of animal products in the production of pet accessories. Looking at cruelty-free approaches it seems that there was always a compromise between ethical decisions and concerns about aesthetics.
It was all too often that products looked like a cliche. I found myself asking “why does it have to look so recycled”? With Park Barkers I wanted to build a collection of pieces that address my ethical concerns yet keep a modern, clean finish and functional detail.
Have there been any outside inspirations for your products?
I love things that look so simple. So effortless in appearance yet, when you get closer, realise they took a lot of thought, effort and energy.
What is unique about Park Barkers products?
I think the way in which we have fused a modern aesthetic to ethical sourcing and production is quite unique.
Our work with Grammy-nominated artist Sarah Larnach (for her work with musicians Ladyhawke and Passenger) stands alone in the way that it challenges notions of recycling. In the development of our Milford jacket print, I worked with Sarah to re-purpose discarded elements of her watercolour paintings as a yardage print that is full of colour, life and an abstract simplicity.
At the moment we are working on the next range and will continue this idea with another artist. In this respect, partnering with artists as a source of recycling is quite different from the ways most brands approach their prints.
Pictured above: Park Barkers Black Fitzroy Dog Lead
What was your first product at Park Barkers?
One of the first products that came to life was the Fitzroy collar. Now patented, this collar came about from my want to have a slide-release collar (usually webbing) that looked more like the traditional buckle collars.
I love the ease of a quick-release slide-release collar but hated all the extra buckles and sliders you need to make them adjustable. I wanted something clean, simple, functional and that would accommodate an uninterrupted band of whatever material I wanted to use. I loved the idea of a stylish strap of recycled rubber as a collar but needed to bring functionality to the idea.
This innovation, where the adjustment is concealed on the underside using hook and loop (“velcro”) made this possible. With some further tweaks and refinements, the Fitzroy collar was born.
If we really want to go back to where it first began, at age 7 I used to make board shorts for my Snoopy doll… I’m not sure this really counts, although it is a precursor to today where I have Park Barkers and make styles for my beagles Darwin and Clyde.
Are you involved with any charities?
Park Barkers gives 5% of all sales to Beagle Rescue Victoria. We have adopted two beagles through them and are eternally grateful for the amazing work they do.
Pictured above: The lovely Darwin and Clyde
What is your favourite thing to do with your dog’s Darwin and Clyde?
Saturday morning walks are always the best! We mix it up quite a bit, so sometimes it’s the beach, other times one of the many off-lead parks in Melbourne.
I’m just so into hanging out with my boys, I get a laugh from just watching them walk and seeing what they look at. Really, any time with these fellas is time well spent.
How would you describe Park Barkers in just three words?
Considered. Modern. Ethical.
Love from the Aurora Pets family x