Hello! I'm Jade, the founder, designer and maker of Hair of the Dog Designs. This unique, slightly strange idea of using your pets excess groomed hair to transform it into beautiful interior worthy fabrics and memorial pieces was born during my MA Textiles with Business Degree at University of Brighton.
During my studies I researched into the depths of pollution within the textiles industry and discovered some really quite atrocious figures;
Over 65,000 million TONNES of plastic/acrylic fibres are produced a YEAR for the production of textile fabrics for both fashion and interiors.
68% of the textiles industry fabrics in mass production are made from acrylic fibres.
The textiles industry is now the 2nd most polluting industry in the WORLD right now.
As an emerging graduate, these facts and figures weren't the most appealing. So I set myself a challenge, With current day awareness of how we as humans, are ruining our planet and the future that lies ahead. I wanted to find an alternative fibre that can be produced from our day to day waste that has the potential and ability to create similar textile properties and fabrics with worthiness of sustainable production.
Dog hair. I grew up around Long Haired German Shepherds (Brodie is the princess posing with me in my graduation photo above), and I will always remember how they would shed balls of hair around the house and garden, or brush up against you leaving you lower body covered in a film of their shedding undercoat.
The qualities within dog hair vastly became apparent to me as a designer and as a weaver. If we can make Wool from Sheep then why can't we make yarn from Dogs?
Approaching this idea I had the most ethical and considerate mindset whilst I tackled solutions to make this brand the most environmentally conscious but foremost putting aesthetical design features in the mix. This encouraged me to create a portfolio of work with many attempts of different processes meaning I had every opportunity to experiment with different mediums along the way. Using traditional techniques of Spinning the hair into yarn (or 'Chiengora' is the scientific name), weaving into a fabric using traditional floor weaving looms, to producing final products. Very little electricity is used within the process making this a continuously sustainable method of production.
My MA Degree was combined with Business Studies, so after submitting this idea as a final business plan and my tutor rejecting it and basically laughing in my face telling me its not a realistic proposal of a business. I entered a competition, 'Bright Ideas Award' sponsored by Santander Universities and run be the BeePurple team within University of Brighton. Not only did I get shortlisted to the top 6 entries and then have to pitch my idea to just under 100 people, but I managed to WIN this award. I won ridiculous amounts of help from accountancy advice, to legal advice and much more. It was at this moment I realised just how much I wanted to pursue this dream and that there are always going to be people who don't 'get' it, but that simply means they aren't part of my market.
I now propose to you, Hair of the Dog Designs. A brand that will take your dogs groomed excess hair and transform it into something unique, stylish and environmentally conscious. From interior based large scale products to small keepsake commission individual pieces, I aim to please pet owners across the world.
The main idea of this brand is to create products that the human eye wouldn't necessary assume is made from recycled dog hair. I want to question the typical consumers perception of dog hair being used to create a luxury handmade bespoke interior product.
This is currently still a very young, fresh and emerging brand therefore there are still a lot of developments to be made. In the early months of 2020 I will be launching a crowdfunding page to raise money to help expand the brand further. Products development will also be expanding during the early months of the New Year, as well as SO many exciting events and exhibitions that I have planned too.
Thank you to EVERYONE who has got involved in Hair of the Dog Designs so far. It is utterly mad to think that at the beginning of 2019 I was so unsure about even finishing my degree, never mind graduating with TWO awards that helped me fund and set up this brand, now having my very own studio and my own LOOM!!! It been a magical year of achievements and excitement and now the fun is about to begin.
This start up business is proudly supported by the help of the Beepurple team at University of Brighton, Ye Olde King and Queen Pub, Brighton for giving me a studio to call my home, and to all 156 dog owners and groomers I currently signed up as donators. I honestly wouldn't be doing any of this without you guys!