A cosseted 21st-century pet can gather a wealth of accessories in its lifetime – from bespoke collars to carefully crafted coats. But what of tasteful wares celebrating Fido the dog or Tigger the cat for their owners? Enter Hoop n Loop, a service that embellishes clothing, bags and cushions with an embroidered picture of a pet. The custom designs are all hand-drawn and made in east London, giving a stylish – if somewhat kitsch – take on pet personalisation.
“My dog Koko is the love of my life,” says founder Carol Tai, who has a degree in fashion design and was working as a creative pattern cutter when she started Hoop n Loop. “After doing a beginner’s course at the London Embroidery Studio, I decided to make everyone in my family and all my friends who look after her a Koko-embroidered cushion. They went down a storm. Everyone loved them and soon I had requests from people I didn’t even know. So I invested in an industrial embroidery machine and I have not stopped since.”
Pet lovers upload a picture of their adored animal online and choose the item they would like their pooch, cat or bunny stitched on – from a classic tote bag (£80) and a sweatshirt (£100) to a long-sleeved striped T-shirt (£90) and a military-style jacket (£120). There’s also a choice of six layouts, which can include a name or a circular frame. “At the beginning, all the portraits began life hand-sketched on paper,” explains Tai. “I now do this on my iPad Pro – inspired by David Hockney – and the digitalised format can be read by my embroidery machine.” With orders coming in from Australia and the US, and requests for embroideries of bearded dragons and hedgehogs, Tai’s take on pet owner’s apparel certainly has legs.