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Dressed Up to the (Ca)nines for Fundraising Events

Fundraising events can be tricky to organise. It often takes something truly spectacular to make us part with our hard-earned cash. Whilst cake sales and coffee mornings are good money-spinners, nothing raises funds like cute dogs on the catwalk.

Puppy dog eyes make us dig deep. It’s just a fact of life. We look into their eyes and we can’t resist. All over the world, perfect pooches have been taking to the catwalk to help raise much-needed funds for various charities. (Let’s just take a moment to add that to the never-ending list of reasons why we love dogs.)

In the fashion world, dogs have quite literally stolen cats’ thunder. Instagram-famous pooches like @jiffpom and @tikatheiggy are viral sensations. Tika is best known for strutting her stuff on TikTok and Instagram.

Armed with a wardrobe that would rival any beauty queen’s or superstar’s, Tika is the epitome of sass. From tracksuits to turtle necks, fluffy coats to flowing gowns, she has it all.

Tika has shown that dogs can strut their stuff just as well as anyone else. With 1.2 million followers on TikTok and another 1 million on Instagram, she’s pretty much a dog fashion icon.

These boots are made for...walking?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have seen the hilarious videos of dogs wearing their winter boots. The viral videos of dogs prancing around in their paw-protecting boots showed that not all dogs possess Tika’s natural finesse.

After those viral videos, we pretty much assumed that ‘man’s best friend’ lacked the coordination needed on the runway. Ohhhh how wrong we were!

In 2011, Lilly Shahravesh, founder of LoveMyDog, organised the first Spitalfields Paw Pageant and doggy catwalk. Letting our lovely dogs loose on the runway seemed like a barking mad idea, but it was a tag-wagging success.

Since then, the event has gone from strength to strength. In 2014, 6,000 dogs of all shapes and sizes attended the pageant in Spitalfields market. 11 perfect pooches took to the catwalk alongside 6 models, rocking the runway and proving that all mutts can strut.

The annual Paw Pageant runs in support of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, a leading animal rehoming centre in Windsor.

Designer dogs on the runway: to fundraise for Guide Dogs

The pandemic threw a spanner in the works for many fundraising events. That said, as always, ‘the show must go on’. In October 2020, The Guide Dog Foundation’s ‘Dogs on the Catwalk’ event took place online instead.

‘Dogs on the Catwalk’ first took place in 2016. Since then, almost 300,000 USD has been raised for the Guide Dog Foundation. The event was a total success and can still be watched online. With high-profile designers such as Anthony Rubio involved in the event, it is an event like no other.

For years we have watched celebrities like Paris Hilton carrying their well-dressed dogs in huge handbags like an accessory. However, dog fashion is becoming something more than just a novelty accessory. Canine couture has developed into something that can help fundraising efforts for charities.

Fashion designers have been designing bespoke dog clothes for our furry friends to show off on the runway.

In 2019, Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF) teamed up with Guide Dogs Australia to make ‘Diamond Dogs’ a reality. The canine catwalk saw dogs sporting bespoke coats and accessories made specially by top designers. After the event, the coats were auctioned off online and all proceeds were donated to Guide Dogs Australia.

The fashion industry has a much bigger social impact than we realise. Over the years, many charities and projects have been highlighted and supported by the industry. One such project was the ‘Stand Out for Guide Dogs’ fundraising events organised by Guide Dogs UK In 2013.

Amber Le Bon and other models took to the catwalk alongside guide dogs in training to help raise awareness and funds for Guide Dogs UK. The models wore a vibrant collection of neon yellow outfits which were donated by the online retail giant, ASOS.

The paw-fect fundraiser

Four of the models involved were blind or partially-sighted and were able to participate with the help of their guide dogs. They all walked across London’s Millennium Bridge wearing bright yellow. What a truly fitting way to start Guide Dogs Week and raise awareness of a fantastic organisation.

Swinemoor Primary School in Beverley, England, also took part in the ‘Stand Out for Guide Dogs’ campaign. Teachers and pupils dressed all in yellow for the day and made a donation to Guide Dogs UK.

It’s no secret that dogs wearing little outfits and accessories will always make us smile. In a time when inclusivity is more important than ever, guide dogs could play a key role in the fashion industry.

Guide dogs can help to raise awareness and funds through fashion fundraising events for charities that do amazing work. In the future, we could have more blind or partially-sighted models rocking the runway with the help of their guide dog.

So, there you have it - dogs are officially the best. (sorry cat people!)


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