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Furry friends prepare to strut their UA fashion

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona has teamed up with University of Arizona fashion minor students to create a pet-friendly runway show to raise money for the society

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For their four-legged friends at the Humane Society, University of Arizona fashion minor students have been hard at work, creating original denim cape designs to be presented at the Dogs N’ Denim Fashion Show Tuesday, Nov. 27.   

This fashion show’s goal is to raise money for the Humane Society and provide hands-on experience for the students involved, according to Charlette Padilla, a Retailing and Consumer Sciences faculty member and fashion minor coordinator. 

This year will be the first year of actually putting together a fashion show for animals at the Humane Society, according to Steff Hunter, the Humane Society’s event manager.  

“We were over the moon to partner again [with the UA], and this is just an adorable idea and so creative, and anything to get our mission out to the students and the community is great,” Hunter said. 

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This fashion show was coordinated to raise funds for the Humane Society. Tickets are free, but VIP tickets will be sold for $10. Swag bags and reserved seating will be included for VIP ticket holders.

The capes that are walked down the runway are being raffled along with toys and treats. Raffle tickets can be bought at the show; one ticket costs $3, two cost $5. Hunter said that proceeds from raffling off the capes will go to the Humane Society for basic needs around the shelter. 

Fashion minor students in Padilla’s class worked in groups and collectively came up with design ideas for the garments. The fabric that they were working with this year was denim.

“My group came up with a theme of off-white,” said Annie Kamps, a fashion minor student. “From there, we cut up our denim, we painted on it and distressed [the denim].” 


Courtesy of Veronica Rodriguez


By working with recycled jeans and denim, the students learned about the importance of a garment’s life and how it might be “up-cycled.” The fashion industry is one of the leading waste producers, according to Padilla. 

In her class, she stressed the importance of a second life for a garment and the power of “up-cycling” garments to extend their lives.

Tasked with finding a donated or old pair of jeans and using that as the basis for the cape design, the students went to work using their creativity to come up with a design that could flow down the runway, Padilla said. 

“[The fashion show] is important twofold: One, it’s a contribution to the Humane Society. The second one is because [the students] reused fabric, then they were able to ‘up-cycle’ something,” Padilla said. “So this teaches them that you can recreate.” 

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Making the students aware of the second life of a garment or a fabric was one of the goals in the fashion minor course, Padilla said. The challenge for her students was to use sustainability skills to turn a fabric into a garment for the second time.

Working with the Humane Society animals, the students created denim capes that are full of designs, paintings, patches and stitching. The students had help from another Retailing and Consumer Science faculty member, Elizabeth Heuisler, when it came to the sewing. 

The fashion show helps the Humane Society of Tucson bring awareness to the animals in the shelter, Hunter said. 


Courtesy of Veronica Rodriguez


Hunter chose to reach out to Padilla and her fashion students to bring awareness to the shelter and all the things that they do to help the animals in their care, according to Hunter. 

Staff members from the Retailing and Consumer Science will be walking their dogs and cats collectively down the runway in the jean garments that the students created. The Humane Society has therapy dogs that will be modeling the denim capes, according to Hunter. 

One thing that the students are most looking forward to at the show is to see the reaction of the audience to the capes that the students designed, according to Bianca Perez, a fashion minor student. 

“I’m super excited to work with the dogs and I just want to see how everyone reacts to [the show],” Perez said. “I think it’s just a super interesting concept to be pairing up with Humane Society and fashion minor students.” 

This people- and pet-friendly fashion show will take place on the UA Mall in the heart of campus and will include an opportunity for guests to meet the canine fashion models one hour prior to the show. 


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