Dressed in a gold costume we came across couturier for dogs Roberto Negrin from New York. He visited Amsterdam briefly to do a photoshoot and filming at Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy for an online commercial. RTL-Boulevard jumped to the opportunity of talking to him.
Christmas is a very good time for Roberto’s business, but the even better is Haloween. That’s when his clients really want to show off at parties and events. ‘Lots of people like the costumes and I love cross-play, dressing up as animal characters and the dogs as cartoon characters. So for us Haloween is huge’.
He came upon his passion by accident, seven years ago. His mom taught him some basic sewing techniques and how to take measurements. His first outfit won ‘Best Dress’ and ‘Runner-up to the crown’, and off he went designing couture for dogs. Now, he has clients all over the globe; doing commercials, tv-productions, and dressing out the pets for special happenings.
Negrin was born in the Dominican Republic and these roots come through in his designs: they are colourful, with lots of feathers, happy outfits. ‘It is about creating memories with your pets, like a special outfit for a family photo, a birthday or even a wedding. I also host Beauty Pageant for dogs , actually every celebration that humans have, we create it doggy style. People go crazy over the dog weddings. This is a commitment of the owners, to have their dogs play together.’
Negrin’s Heclin Couture starts around 500 dollars fora n everyday look, going up to about 5000 dollars for an elaborate set with Swarovski crystals.
He was in Amsterdam to test the waters, to see how the Dutch market reacts to his sense of dress. ‘I find the Dutch are animal lovers, yet dog owners are still a little shy to the idea of dressing up their dog, showing their affection for the pets. We want dogs to be themselves, to be comfortable. We choose the right fabrics to match their fur and their skin. When you see the dog, it has to make you smile. It has to fit in with the dog’s personality. I supervise all outfits, because it is my creativity, if we are away, we try to do Skype interviews, so it’s a very personal approach. I treat my work not so much as a business, I see myself as an artist.Sometimes people try to force their dogs into a big gown, but I am more into tiny dresses or tutu’s. I have a name to protect. You don’t want to see a dog in the street struggling in an impossible outfit.
Yet it is not just about having fun with your dogs, but also about creating awareness. ‘We are big members of our community, we give out puppy bags, support puppy scouts, give advise on hygiene, grooming tips, advise on health issues. My main concern is to create awareness, educating people.’
Off he goes, now more demurely dressed in a supple leather jacket, having another dip into town before flying back to the States.