Local designer shows line at New York’s Pet Fashion Show

One Lewisburg native strolled down a New York catwalk with his dog. Brian Beitz was one of the featured designers at the New York Pet Fashion Show 2019. The show is the biggest of its kind in the United States and benefits the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals

“The event was created to help the Mayor’s Alliance and to celebrate all dogs from champions to rescues,” said Beitz.

The fashion show is strategically timed to take advantage of New York Fashion Week and the Westminster Dog Show. Both events kick off after the pet fashion show that took place on Feb. 7 at Hotel Pennsylvania in Manhattan.

“This is an international event with press from around the world. This is the creme de la creme of pet fashion,” said Beitz.

Days before Beitz arrives at the event, he is busy with the final details of his couture collection for dogs. His miniature Schnauzer, Hollis (show name Repitions Rapped In Kisses at Waverly), is regally posing in a lavish original design by Dr. Beitz.

“My line is very European and you can see that in the design. Hollis is my muse,” said the designer.

Beitz is prepping at his Lewisburg business, Waverly Kennels.

“We are a pet hotel and a non-conventional kennel where dogs stay in hotel suites,” said Beitz of the kennels’ penchant for pampering pooches.

Within the kennel, there is a boutique filled with one-of-a-kind pooch fashions from the W Couture Line by Waverly Kennels. One of the dog coats from the line uses materials sourced locally from Woolrich.

“These are not costumes. These are clothes for dogs,” said Beitz.

For those who want something extravagant for their dog, there is a mink coat made from repurposed fur coats for humans.

It sells at a starting price of $100 with prices rising depending on the size of the dog.

“A fashionista does not walk down the street without her dog looking as a good as she does,” said Beitz referring to how the pet fashion industry grew to a $55 billion industry.

A rack of fashions for Hollis and other pooches sits at the ready to head to the New York runway. The theme of the pet fashion show is “Masquerade Ball for Pet Rescue” and Beitz has designed his pieces to celebrate the show’s theme. The fabrics used in each creation are luxe while the pieces themselves are worthy of a “Vogue” cover.

Beitz was destined from birth to be in the fashion industry. His family founded the iconic Waverly brand for which he worked as a designer and later headed as CEO. He eventually retired from human fashion but still wanted to design.

“I couldn’t go too far from fashion completely. So, I saw a hole in the market for dogs,” said Betiz.

His love for dogs drove him to get his doctorate in ethology, which is the study of animal behavior in their natural environment (he also has a doctorate in international business). Both degrees have helped further his work as a pet fashion designer.

He said, “From New York to Aspen to Switzerland [is where our clientele is from]. We have a large international following.”

On the day of the pet fashion show, Hotel Pennsylvania is buzzing with more than just dogs since other pets are included on the runway. In addition, New York society, pet lovers and press have descended upon the event.

Upon arriving at the pet fashion show, it is go time for the designer and his pure bred pooch Hollis.

“From the moment you arrive, you are on the whole time. You are interviewed and shot the whole evening,” Beitz said.

First up on their agenda, Beitz and Hollis strolled down the red carpet.

“Hollis is one of the best dogs because she is not phased [by all the people]. She is so calm and laid back in these environments,” said Beitz.

Then it was time for the main event — the runway. Hollis wore a creation called Venetian Masquerade while his owner donned a mask and black suit.

“It is high energy because your first three rows are press. At that point, you become a robot and you just go get the job done.”

Despite the amount of work that goes into preparing for the catwalk and the fashion sprint the day of the show, Beitz relished the experience. He is especially proud of helping to raise money for animals.

After returning to the calm of Lewisburg, Beitz said, “I felt like I was at home because I have done this for 25 years. It’s nice to have your collection seen by everyone and enjoyed.”