Muzzle Brand: How To Turn A Dog Into A Fashion Model

Designers David Fung and Yena Kim on how a Facebook photo of their dog, Bodhi, turned ​​him into a star of the fashion industry and the hero of advertising campaigns for Salavatore Ferragamo, Coach and ASOS.

Bodhi’s instagram has almost 150,000 followers. His blog is followed by millions of readers. He films commercials for brands like American Apparel and Victorinox, has been written about in GQ and The Guardian, and has a calendar of his portraits being sold on Amazon. Only, Bodhi is a dog. His owners, New York designers David and Yena, told Bird In Flight how funny photos of their costumed pet eventually turned into a full-fledged business project.

David Fung, Yena Kim and Bodhi

Bodhi is a Shiba Inu dog. David and Yena are his owners. They live in New York City. David was a senior designer in CBX and bluemarlin branding agencies; Yena was an intern at Calvin Klein and an assistant designer for Ralph Lauren Women’s Black Label. Today they are co-owners of the Menswear Dog brand.

— It all happened organically one boring Saturday afternoon in January 2013. We had watched Fantastic Mr.Fox (a cartoon about animals wearing people clothes. — editor), and we thought it would be funny to dress up our handsome Shiba Inu like the main character. Then, something happened. He literally posed for us, tilting his head and giving us different expressions to capture. We really couldn’t deny his charisma so we uploaded the photos to Facebook. We were absolutely surprised at the reaction we got. Then we knew we needed to make a blog about Bodhi.

{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_14.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 01” },
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_15.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 02” },
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_16.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 03” },
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_17.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 04” },
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_18.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 05” },
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_19.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 06” },
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_20.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 07” },
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_21.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 08” },
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_22.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 09” },
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_23.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 10” }

Initially, we just wanted people to get a few giggles from photographs of a dog in different clothes. The day after we launched our Menswear Dog tumblr, it got picked up by GQ, and it all snowballed from there. After only a few months the blog already had more than one million visitors and soon we had requests for Bodhi to appear in ads. In the end, we quit our jobs in order to devote all our time and effort to the project

Our dog has now had the chance to work with Comodo Square, Todd Snyder, Salavatore Ferragamo, Coach and ASOS among others. We’ve also launched our own line of clothing for dogs and are currently working on a book with photographs of Bodhi and suggestions on how a real gentleman’s wardrobe should look.

{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_37A.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 11” },
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_25.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 12” },
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_26.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 13” },
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_27.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 14” },
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_28.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 15” },
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_29.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 16” },
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_30.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 17” },
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_34.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 21” }

Despite the fact that Bodhi’s blog is already profitable, we don’t have a concrete direction for the project. We try to just go with the flow since that’s how we originally started. Our goal is to keep the site fun and feel-good, so that it attracts gigglers, photo lovers, and fashion lovers. We’re doing what we love: we put our dog in clothes and take pictures. Clients come to us on their own. We do four or five projects a month, but we’re still far away from becoming millionaires.

Most clients trust us with the photo shoots because shooting a dog in menswear is a very specific thing, and we know the process. Once, Bodhi modeled power ties for Bloomberg Businessweek. It was the first time we did a studio shoot with a large team behind him. There was a photographer, an assistant, stylists, and a creative director. And two people to hold peanut butter.

{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_38.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 25” },
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_39.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 26” },
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_40.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 27” },
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_41.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 28” },
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_42.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 29” },
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_43.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 30” },
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_44.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 31” },
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/dog_45.jpg”, “alt”: “Menswear Dog 32” }

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