Unless you’ve got an animal that will willingly undergo a lion cut, it can be hard to style your pets. At least, it was. Now, thanks to actress Leisha Hailey (The L Word), anyone can have a perfectly coiffed companion: Her company, Petwigs, creates adorable and stylish wigs for the critters in your life.
Hailey tells mental_floss in an email that she came up with the idea 12 years ago. Pet costumes were dominating the market, but the wigs that would complete the looks were lacking. “There weren’t any pet wigs conveniently available, nor did they come in a wide selection of colors and styles,” she says. She didn’t act on her idea, however, until she met Melissa Carbone of Ten Thirty One Productions; the pair launched Petwigs, then brought on collaborators Regina Carpinelli and Sofu Snow.
Though Hailey had never designed wigs before, they weren’t completely foreign territory: She drew on her background as a musician who, in her 20s, was “basically raised by drag queens in the East Village.” Her band opened up for performers at the Pyramid Club, and it was there, in the backstage area, that she learned how to use the arts as a means of transformation. “It has to be incredibly executed with a twist of humor,” she says. “I have the same vision for Petwigs: High style, classic looks. Put it on an animal and the laughing ensues.”
The "Party in the Back" wig. Image credit: Petwigs.com.
To figure out how to make the wigs, Hailey and her colleagues met with Hollywood-based wig makers. First, they designed a sizing system that uses a net as a base. “The base comes in 3 sizes: Small, Medium, Large,” Hailey says. “They fit comfortably between the ears of your pet depending on what size your animal is. The hair falls around the ears, and that’s where the magic begins.”
Next came the design of a strap and clasp system that keeps the wigs on (and allows them to easily come off) without irritating the animals. “Every friend with a pet was brought in for sizing and strap system analysis,” Hailey says. “We landed with the final design by trying different straps.”
Finally, they created prototypes of the styles; each wig took about a day to build. The company settled on synthetic hair, which held the shape and style of the ‘dos best. “The styling process was meticulous,” Hailey says. “We want our wigs to be high end, like your pet just walked out of the salon.”
The "Headbanger" wig. Image credit: Petwigs.com.
Picking the styles that would become Petwigs’ first collection was of paramount importance. “We are coming out with our Original Collection, which consists of the most iconic hairstyles of the decades,” Hailey says. “From there, we will always stay with the times and plan to have an ever evolving selection of styles.”
Petwigs range in price from $35 to $43 and come in styles like “The Bombshell,” “The Editor,” and “The Tigerbeat.” Hailey’s personal favorite style is “The Supreme,” a red beehive. For adorable photos of animals in wigs, you can follow the company on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook—or you can just preorder your very own PetWig here (make sure to read the fit and safety information first!) to bring the fun home, just in time for Halloween.