Billy Wolf stemmed from Drago’s fruitless search for a stylish coat for Cujo, her Chihuahua. Taking to her sewing machine, Drago transformed an old tartan jacket into a jaunty pooch-sized number. Before long, strangers were stopping her on the street and making requests. A business was born.
Drago hunts for deadstock fabrics through channels such as thrift stores and estate sales.
From the beginning, Drago set out to cultivate a heritage appeal that distinguished itself from the sea of pink tutus and punk looks that dominate the pet-apparel industry. “I designed men’s knits at Ralph Lauren and Timberland,” she tells Ecouterre. “I set out to create something from scratch that fit my own style.”
Drago also takes pains to keep her product local. When sourcing for fabrics, she hunts for deadstock through channels such as thrift stores, antique dealers, and estate sales.”There’s no need to produce new fabric because there is already so much wasted material out there,” she tells Ecouterre. “Ninety percent of the fabric I find in the Garment District in New York is deadstock.”
The advantage of Billy Wolf’s discernment is two-fold. “By buying local, vintage, and deadstock I hope to contribute to reducing our carbon footprint,” Drago says. “[And] I love when I can provide something very unique.”
Drago has since expanded her line to include bandanas and collars. In addition, Billy Wolf donates 10 percent of its proceeds to Funny for Fido, a nonprofit that uses standup comedy to raise awareness and funds for homeless animals.