Internationally acclaimed pet fashion designer Anthony Rubio was the first ever canine designer to be featured in New York’s Fashion Week, and is involved with many animal-related charities. He has had creations from his line, Bandit Rubio, featured on TMZ, Perez Hilton, the Today Show, CBS, Fox, and Animal Planet, among other networks. Animal Fair Media sat down with Rubio to discuss his inspiration, his philanthropic goals and his pets.
AF: What inspired you to be a dog designer?
AR: I was inspired to be a dog designer years ago when I rescued then adopted a Chihuahua named Bandit who liked wearing clothes. After dressing him as “Elvis The King” one Halloween, he was featured on a book cover, newspapers and won the acclaim of many fans. Dressed in my creations as other iconic figures in the music and television industries, he became an international sensation. I was approached to design for other dogs by their owners and was encouraged to pursue a design career. Having attended New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, majoring in women’s wear design, some twenty years earlier, I had chosen a different form of employment, but never lost touch with the fashion Industry. Now having both a muse and encouragement I decided to try my hand at designing for dogs and, wouldn’t you know it? My designs took off, placing my name and reputation in the highest ranks of the elite in the canine design industry world wide.
AF: If there was one dog you would hope to dress, who would it be? Why?
AR: My history in philanthropy and caring for animals dictates that I truly would love to dress a dog who, for a lack of better terms, has it’s days numbered due to ill health. Many dogs and cats are lost to various forms of cancers, and I would love to give one last hurrah by designing something out of this world so that both dog and owner can share that spectacular feeling of looking and feeling absolutely fabulous, and have photos done to have forever memories of that special time. At this time the one dog that comes to mind, because of the upcoming wedding in July, is Lucky Diamond, for whom I would love to create the most outrageous and glamorous wedding dress to mark that occasion.
AF: If you were compared to a fashion designer, who would it be?
AR: I have been compared to many designers, most especially the top European Couturiers because, like them, my creations are truly one of a kind works of art, utilizing draping and sewing skills that can only come with extensive education and experience acquired through time. My work starts from a foundation in a style that I innovated and continue to develop to then, with an artisans precision, sculpt to create a true one of a kind masterpiece. Like those Couturiers, most of the work most especially the embellishments are hand sewn and the flowers are hand made by me personally. I reference the works of the best Couturiers, most especially John Galliano and Thierry Mugler, while my hats are inspired by Philip Treacy.
AF: Do you have pets? Where did you get them from, and what are their names?
AR: On the day that Bandit passed away, I was informed that a woman I once met had a dream about Bandit. A week earlier, her dogs gave birth to a litter of Chihuahuas. Having fallen in love with my Bandit and having followed my work as a fan, she wanted for me to adopt one of her new pups. A few weeks later she met with me and handed me two male pups to baby sit. After a few days she asked which I would like and I was torn. I informed her I did not know about separating them, since they were so attached, and dependent on each other. She asked me to adopt both, and I did.
AF: Are they your muses?
AR: My boys Bogie and Kimba, at five months, starred for a three week run of an off Broadway Play titled “Dog Park” to come off the stage and hit the runways of the 2012 Fall New York Fashion Week. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that I was featured as the first ever Canine Designer/ Couturier to hit the runways of any New York Fashion Week, and of course my boys were not only the muses, but among the models presenting at that show.
AF: Do they like to dress up?
AR: They love to dress up and represent my visions. They accompany me where ever possible and, like my Bandit, assist me in my philanthropic work as well as helping educate on spaying and neutering as well as the importance of adoption. Recently they were featured by General Motors in ads encouraging pet safety while driving. They have filled my life not just with inspiration, but with unconditional love.
I can not describe how much I love what I do and create, and I see myself as a visionary in this amazing field of design for what are now finally appreciated and loved as extensions to our families: our pets.
AF: What is your favorite animal charity?
AR: This is such a tough choice to have to make, since I am on the boards of several fundraising organizations. Most recently I was honored and awarded quite unexpectedly by The Humane Society of New Rochelle for my humanitarian efforts in championing animal adoption. I participate where welcomed to facilitate raising funds and awareness to the plight of animals who have no voices to express their needs or pains to make the world a deserving place for their unconditional love. I will continue to advocate against animal cancer and am now getting myself involved in the SATO Project, which brings abandoned dogs left to die on the beaches of Puerto Rico to loving forever homes where they will live being cared for and loved.
For more information visit on Anthony Rubio and his doggie designs: www.banditrubio.com