Park Barkers is a new Melbourne-based design label, taking the world by storm by re-imagining functional essentials for dogs. With a focus on innovative details, ethical sourcing and a clean aesthetic, this up and coming label is definitely one to watch. We chat with founder, David Snow, to dive deeper into this unique brand.
1. We would love to hear a bit about Park Barkers, who’s behind it and how it was developed.
Recently launched, Park Barkers seeks to occupy the space where innovative materials, ethical sourcing and a clean aesthetic intersect with contemporary living.
The brand grew from a broad love of all animals and a desire to find products that fit with my ideas and values. I’ve always had a hard time reconciling animal products being used to create items for pets. Finding brands and products that sat comfortably with my ethical ideals often led to a compromise of aesthetics. This just compounded my frustration as the only things I could get my hands on just didn’t fit with the look and feel I want to share with my two Beagles (Darwin and Clyde).
I come from a design background, having worked mostly with streetwear labels, Surf/Skate brands and a Record Companies and bands. That background not only gave me the skills to begin building the range, but the DIY optimism to give it a go.
It took close to a year to bring the first range to life, but now that we’re out there I’m really proud of what we have achieved so far.
2. Where did your brand name come from?
The brand name “Park Barkers” comes from a nick-name I gave Darwin and Oskar (Oskar passed away Feb 2018). For a while there they’d bark a bit at the park when we would go for walks. I guess I’d imagined it was their dog-gang-name….. the “Park Barkers”. Over the years the name stuck and I’d refer to them as a pair by this new name. When I decided to build a range it felt like a comfortable fit to give the brand the boys name.
3. What differentiates your products to others on the market?
I think we have some really unique products out there. We really work to minimise our impact on the world. This includes taking a cruelty-free approach to our design, materials and manufacturing. We use vegan-leather options that are durable and easy to clean.
Another aspect of our ethical sourcing includes an investigation of ideas of recycling. From recycled rubbers and plastics in our polyesters, to our work with artists to reinvent discarded works, we explore the different dimensions and expressions of recycling.
We have also got a couple of patents on our designs and have actively avoided replicating anything that is on the market already.
4. We know it’s hard to have favourites, but if you had to choose, what would be your favourite product from your line and why?
I think my favourite item is the Milford Coat with the amazing print by Sarah Larnach. Sarah is a Grammy nominated artist (for her work with musicians Ladyhawke and Passenger) and her print stands alone in the way that it challenges notions of recycling. In the development of our Milford jacket print, I worked with Sarah to re-purpose discarded elements of her watercolour paintings. We took the small whimsical doodles and drew them together as a yardage print that is full of colour, life and and an abstract simplicity. At the moment we are working on the next range and will continue this idea with another artist. In this respect, partnering with artists as a source of recycling is quite different to the ways most brands approach their prints.
5.What’s the best thing about working in this industry?
The best thing by far is that you get to spend more time with dogs.
6. What's something your customers might not know about you?
Customers might not know that Park Barkers was kind of unavoidable…. As a child I would sew clothes for my pet “Snoopy” toy (a Beagle). As an adult, I’ve returned to making clothing for my pets (two Beagles). I still have the board shorts Snoopy would wear during the summer months (yes: he had seasonal apparel).
7. Tell us more about the charity work Park Barkers does.
In support of the work independent charitable organisations make to the welfare and rights of animals, Park Barkers gives 5% of all sales to a nominated registered charity. This season, Park Barkers is proud to support Beagle Rescue Victoria.
8. What’s one piece of advice you would give to dog owners in the market for a new lead or collar?
My advice when Collar or Lead shopping is to try and find something that reflects you and your pooch. Dogs don’t really wear many items of clothing, so with so little to work with, make sure you’re saying something that you’re proud to be said.
9. What does the future hold for Park Barkers?
The future for Park Barkers is looking great! We’re building the next range, adding a few new lines, working on sourcing new materials and refining designs. More immediately, I’ve off to take Darwin and Clyde out for a stroll!