Dogs hit the catwalk for Syracuse Fashion Week

Syracuse's Fall 2016 Fashion Week kicked off on Wednesday with its first ever dog fashion show.

Syracuse Fashion Week put on its first runway show of the season on Wednesday and instead of strutting their heels and bags, the models showed off their paws and tails.

The event, “Dressed To The K-9’s,” was Syracuse’s first dog fashion show. It took place in Perseverance Park between Armory and Clinton Squares. The outdoor show was free to attend and free to enter.

Lisa Butler, executive director of Syracuse Fashion Week, said the idea for this event came from the Office of Innovation at City Hall.

“All of a sudden I looked up at about 7:10 p.m. and all the seats were full and there were people in the plaza,” Butler said.

She explained that the emphasis of the show was on promoting this new urban space referred to as Perseverance Park.

“It’s the center heart of Syracuse so that’s why this particular area is so important,” she said.

The show displayed a sense of community as people gathered around the pavement runway and snapped pictures of all the dogs. It was a casual environment that allowed for the dogs and handlers to take their time making it down the runway as the emcee, Heidi Holtz, spoke about the dogs’ favorite hobbies, such as chewing on shoes and having their bellies rubbed.

After the show, the audience was able to cast votes on which puppy ensemble was the best. There was even an after-party held at the Wolff’s Biergarten, 106 Montgomery St.

There were also many pet-friendly vendors who set up booths around the runway. One of these vendors was the Three Brothers Barkery. They gifted each participating dog with a homemade peanut butter and pumpkin treat.

Another one of the venders was Recycle-A-Bull Bully Breed Rescue Inc., which featured Jenny Desmarais walking in the show with fostered Pit Bull, Jackson. Recycle-A-Bull is a nonprofit rescue that places dogs in homes through a fostering process. It has been based out of Central New York since 2011.

“Jackson overcame parvovirus, so we say he’s our little superhero,” Desmarais said. Parvovirus is a virus which affects dogs.

The organization participated in the dog fashion show in order to gain exposure and let the community know about their mission, she said.

“We take any chance we can get to take the rescue dogs out, tell their stories and try end the stigma, and get these dogs into homes,” Desmarais said.

Holtz, who is on the committee to get Perseverance Park revitalized, also had her dog, Divot (his name is due to the chunk missing in his ear), walk in the show.

“Events [like this] get people excited. Studies always show that when dogs and people come back downtown, you know it’s coming alive again,” Holtz said. “We really proved that tonight.”

Created with flickr slideshow.

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