by Kelly Wetherille

As the summer months near an end and September fast approaches, fashionable Tokyoites will kick accessorizing into high gear: hats, scarves, and tights will be accompanied by the trendiest accessory to hit Japan since slouchy socks—a tiny, well-dressed dog. While the reasons for the Japanese obsession with dressing their canine companions may be debatable, there is no denying its popularity and growing momentum. What began as a niche market for (arguably eccentric) dog owners has morphed into a booming nationwide trend, and is inspiring similar movements around the world.

From custom made ‘gothic lolita’ dresses to doggy-sized superhero costumes, there is literally no end to the types of clothing available for Japan’s fashionable pets. While the summer brings colorful printed yukata and cotton jersey muscle tees, winter will see dogs dressed in faux fur-trimmed parkas and vinyl rain gear. For those interested in trying out the trend for themselves, take a look at some of the following stores:

Paris Erotica Frilly, girly clothes for small dogs with lots of rhinestone and stud detailing. 3-15-10-201 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku Tel: 03-5785-3350

Upcolors Casual and cute original styles in every color of the rainbow. Available at dog stores nationwide Tel: 045-681-3705

Le Chien et SAYO ‘Haute couture’ dog wear in luxurious styles and fabrics. 6-3-25 Hatanodai, Shinagawa-ku Tel: 03-3788-5555

Ultimate Nervous Casual wear for the more sporty or masculine canines. Tel: 03-3265-5185

Voyage for LaLa Collars and leads adorned with ribbons, studs, rhinestones, tassels, flowers, and pearls. Available at dog stores nationwide

Alpha Icon Everything from basic pajamas and rain gear to denim jeans and mini skirts. Tel: 011-520-2225