New York’s renowned Fashion Institute of Technology, founded by Deborah David and Janet Brav, has incorporated a fashion discipline for dogs into their curriculum.
The FIT program, which was started 12 years ago, attracts students from Japan, Korea, Mexico, South America, Chicago, and Washington D.C. since it is the only pet-specific higher education in the world. It was originally just as a two-year certificate program that teaches attendees on how to launch their own pet businesses. Recently, students have been taking part in a three-week intensive where they learn skills like pattern-making, illustration, and logo design to branding, merchandising, and marketing.
Dana Humphrey, a pet PR professional, became part of the program after she was invited as a guest speaker for a pet branding class.
“Every day, they’re in class from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. They’re exhausted!” Humphrey said of the most recent batch of three-week intensive students, according to Dogster. “Many of them are married with families, and they’ve put everything on hold to come here. It shows that they’re serious about being professionals in the business.”
Professional pet stylist Ada Nieves is one of the very first graduates of the original certificate program and has worked with the Animal Planet, MTV, and ABC as an on-site clothing and accessories specialist for dogs.
“It helped open doors to be hired as pet stylist, fashion designer, and expert in the field,” Nieves said. “Having the certificate from an institution with the quality and name that FIT has is impressive and demands respect!”
Another recent graduate is Viviana Rivera Marrero, who owns Toy Doggie and makes an entire line of products out of high-quality jersey and stretch fabric for optimal comfort and breathability.
The stories of Nieves and Marrero show that that the FIT program is an effective stepping stone for pet businesses. As of now, FIT continues to offer pet product design and marketing courses on an individual basis.