“Until two years ago I’d never had a dog,” admits Morgan Cummins, UK-based creative director and founder of new dog/lifestyle brand Houndworthy. “I grew up allergic to them, but we got Motley, our Jack Russell/Patterdale Terrier/Poodle cross, and it’s been a rather transformative experience. I never realised how much sociability they (dogs) enable,” he says, explaining how the idea for his new canine-themed lifestyle brand Houndworthy came about. “I’d say dogs are the second most popular thing on Earth (apart from babies),” he asserts as we chat over Skype, his partner Jo Holdaway and their mutt Motley by his side.
Launched last week, Houndworthy is a dog lifestyle brand with big ambitions, an evolving online presence in the form of a retail space, and a dedicated brand strategy that has been gradually building on social media but lives far beyond the realms of a screen.
“We want our [dog] brand to operate like a surf brand (think Hurley or RVCA), or an outdoors brand (think Patagonia) and give our customers more reasons to go out and enjoy life with their dogs,” Cummins says, “and look damn fine while doing it of course.” So they’re blending fashion, style and utility with an informative and immersive retail approach; offering products supported by interesting stories that are relevant and meaningful.
With backgrounds in creative direction/advertising and graphic design respectively, a couple of years ago Cummins and Holdaway, noticed a hole in the market for well designed dog-related goods – leads, bags, collars, jackets etc. “When you start shopping for a dog, it’s actually a hideous retail experience,” says Cummins. “In a way, Houndworthy is a reaction to the other dog brands that currently exist,” presenting what they believe is a more authentic and honest way of speaking to dog owners. With some attitude and irreverence, Houndworthy is living and breathing dog culture in a way that is not twee and childish like so many dog brands.
“If you look at what’s out there,” Cummins tells, “even companies like Mungo&Maud (probably one of the leaders in the world at the moment) it’s very skewed towards women and it stays in quite clichéd territory with bone motifs, paw prints and childish language.” With Houndworthy, they are out to create something ‘cool’, and more gender neutral.
So far Houndworthy has mustered a number of exclusive small producers and related lifestyle appropriate brands internationally, stocking fine canine coats and jackets by Billy Wolf NYC, interior for dogs by Cloud 7 from Berlin, handmade leads by Grey Paw from Portland, bowls, beds and accessories by Waggo from Brooklyn, and See.Scout.Sleep from Louisianna, who also sell collars and leads. And aside from pet accessories, they also stock Pai Skincare, who make lip balm and post-walk moisturiser; Red Canoe walking bags; are collaborating with a popular indie road cycle culture brand known for their stylish musettes (bags) (iL) Soigneur who are who are creating a unique design for Houndworthy; and are developing a line of stylish natural rope leads produced at the last remaining Royal Navy ropeyard in Chatham, Kent.
“We want to make finding nice shit easy,” says Cummins. “And that sounds so simple and the basic premise of any nice boutique or shop, but you’d be surprised that no one has got that right with regard to dogs, and we can change that and expand upon it…’cos it’s pretty cool, as cool as dog shit can be, so to speak.”
All images and artwork by Houndworthy
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