Pagerie Founder Madden Kelly on Pet Couture in the Luxury Fashion Industry
Pagerie aims to be the couture of pet fashion, founder Mandy Madden Kelly describes. The brand's drive for ethical production and sustainability, matched with Kelly's muted-tone aesthetics and intricate designs, elevates its products to the pet fashion house it is today.
The humble origin of Kelly's brand begins with her childhood in Romania and New Zealand. Her passion for blogging, design and skincare blossomed into a drive to create something that represented her. This is where she brought forward her profound love for dogs and pets. Seeing the positive impacts that pets have on their owners, Kelly founded Pagerie amid the industry's lack of high-quality, luxury pet goods at the time.
Here, Kelly shares with us the ethos of Pagerie which focuses on craftsmanship, luxury and comfort for pets.
1. What do pets mean to you?
I’ve always been a dog (and pet) enthusiast. I grew up with them and saw the impact they had on the different people in my life. That being said, I’ve taken a particular interest in how much people humanize their pets and personalise them with accessories that flatter them or in many cases, reflect their owner’s personalities.
The amount of money spent on pets, pet care and accessories has been skyrocketing and it is projected to become even larger. Pagerie is going to play a pivotal role in that growth.
2. What was the inspiration behind starting your brand Pagerie?
I was sort of an odd kid. While my other friends were obsessing over the current trends, I was always looking back to the fashion of the 1930s, 40s and 50s. I loved how elegant, classy and structured people dressed back then. I’ve carried that love of the classics with me from Europe, to New Zealand and eventually, to LA in 2015. Coming from the other side of the world, I dreamed of what people were wearing in Hollywood, and to a large degree, I was genuinely impressed with the style I saw in LA.
But whenever I’d go to a fashion event or a nice restaurant and saw stylish people walking in with their dogs, I was shocked to see that they had a leash and collar that did not represent their fashion sense or their love for their pets but instead, looked like it was made for a sports team or rock climbing adventure. I realised there must be a void in the market for good quality, fashionable pet accessories, and I spent two years scouring catalogues and stores, looking for something that would be similar to our greatest luxury fashion houses, and realised I would have to create it myself.
I realised there must be a void in the market for good quality, fashionable pet accessories, and I spent two years scouring catalogues, stores, looking for something that would be similar to our greatest luxury fashion houses, and realized I would have to create it myself.
I think the focus of pet wear for so long has been on utility without a major emphasis on design. Americans spend an estimated US$70 billion on their pets per year, yet pet products are usually priced for wear-and-tear, when durability is especially important with the amount of activity our pets engage in. Our pets are a reflection and extension of ourselves, and I realised there was such a void in the market with products that lived up to that connection.
3. How do you define sustainability?
We made sure no toxic chemicals were used during the plating process. We work exclusively with the purest quality of stainless steel with the lowest level of contaminants. Our lead-free stainless steel, which includes strong mechanical hardness, also guarantees exceptional corrosion resistance under the most severe environmental and chemical conditions. And when tested, there were zero reports of skin irritation or allergic reactions. Plus, it’s 100% recyclable. We wanted form to meet function with the hardware and click just right. For example, our pear Turnlock is a multifaceted piece; it slides down, twists, and pulls down. It is an experience.
All of our materials are sourced from Europe, which has much stricter regulations when it comes to sustainability and climate change [than the US or other parts of the world]. Our leather, for example, is 100% REACH-certified vegetable-tanned leather. The REACH Certification is the highest certification that can be acquired in the European Union for any leather. The most prestigious handbags in the world all use REACH Certified leather because it is the best of the best.
4. How do you intend to influence the luxury fashion industry for pets?
Companies obsess about how quickly they can rip off a runway design and get it to the market. So many things are lost and marginalised in this approach. When we started Pagerie, our goal wasn’t to do anything fast. Everything we do takes time. Each one of our pieces is handmade by artisans and no two pieces are exactly the same. When you hold a Pagerie design in your hand, you’re holding a piece of art made by a human in a very slow, thoughtful and detailed manner.
I would be shocked walking into people’s homes who had several different leashes and collars simply because they weren’t able to come across something with high quality that they loved. Quality costs more, but it can last a lifetime. When my team and I developed the designs for Pagerie, we made them to be timeless, high-quality pieces that would never go out of style or need to be disposed of or replaced.
'When my team and I developed the designs for Pagerie, we made them to be timeless, high-quality pieces that would never go out of style or need to be disposed of or replaced.'
5. Any personal favourite products?
I personally love the Clyde collar for my little Italian Greyhound puppy, Remi. He is so dainty that it's hard to find pieces on the market that perfectly fit our little pups, and this particular object is designed with our little ones in mind, including our cats. I also love the Simone Harness for my French Bulldog, Hector. Frenchies tend to have a lot of problems with their breathing, for this reason, I like to refrain from using a collar around his neck, to avoid any long-term damage. The Simone harness is two sizes in one, and it's easily adjustable using the patented Pagerie pear-shaped link to tighten as they pull for extra training functionality.
All imagery is provided by Pagerie.