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New VCC program pushes the limits of pet fashion

Posted on April 1, 2021

Yellow lizard wearing sparkly hat

Vancouver Community College (VCC) is pleased to announce a brand-new program that will elevate the creative industry in B.C. and take fashion design places it’s never gone before. 

Building upon current trends in dog and cat fashion, VCC is excited to support the next hot trend in pet clothing with a new Exotic Pet Fashion Design certificate.

For many, household pets have been our closest companions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and isolation has driven many pet owners to channel their inner McQueen, Westwood, or Versace towards their furry friends. Yet while social feeds abound with pups and kittens in argyle vests, prom dresses, and chenille onesies, the fashion market for exotic pets has remained virtually untapped – until now.

“At VCC, we don’t discriminate among people, and in the same spirit, we embrace and accept to all kinds of pets,” says animal apparel entrepreneur and Exotic Pet Fashion Design instructor Trixie Ruxpin.

Large rodent wearing pink dress

Taught by fashion influencers from the wildly successful Pet Fashion Weeks in Berlin, Paris, and Abbotsford, VCC’s program is a first for the global industry, while also hitting very close to home. “Humans have a foundational desire to dress up our pet family members,” says Trixie.

Working with exotic pet sanctuaries across Canada, VCC’s newest program teaches courses on measurement, textile selection, and pattern-making for a wide variety of fauna such as reptiles (iguanas, turtles), rodents (hamsters, guinea pigs), birds (parrots, canaries), as well as miniature pigs and hedgehogs. Optional workshops will be available in pet husbandry, and students will have weekly screenings for salmonella.

Fierce rooster and dapper hedgehog

Anticipating high demand for the new program, Trixie recommends that applicants have some previous sewing experience, a minimum of 5,000 Instagram followers, and excellent eyesight. “This kind of work can be quite intricate,” she says, recalling her smallest-ever design: a five-centimetre-long Baby Shark Halloween costume for a local public radio celebrity’s pygmy marmoset.

Depending on the success of the initial cohort, VCC anticipates expanding campus infrastructure to accommodate an aquatic pet fashion class, styling fish and various amphibians using the latest technical fabrics.

Learn more about this cutting-edge VCC program by emailing