Since I first came across Hiro + Wolf, after moved to London a few years back, I have been ogling their dog collars, but never dared to buy Argo one: he is a large dog with a tendency to pull on the leash when exploring new places (which we do a lot) or encountering squirrels and previous collars from other brands didn’t last long for this reason, the main issue being the leather/fabric around the D-ring becoming loose. So I was very excited when Amy from Hiro + Wolf proposed to make a prototype collar for him, with the D-ring sewn in between fabric layers for extra strenght.
The prototype – with fabric from their Fireworks collection – just arrived over the post and I am couldn’t be more exicited to have Argo testing it for R&D! In this post you will find our first impressions more about things to love about Hiro+Wolf and a sneak peek of the making of. We will be using the collar over the weeks and months to come and will give feedback later on its prolonged use by a large strong dog.
A sneak peek into how it is made
Hiro+Wolf dog collars are made from fabrics ethically sourced from Africa, or designed by co-founder Amy and printed in the UK. Each collar is handmade in Staffordshire, so I asked them if they could share a few photos of the making of Argo’s collar. Below you can find a photostory of the making of the collar, which really brings it to life and makes me appreciate it even more the care with which it is crafted.
The bright, geometric fireworks Shweshwe printed fabric is sourced from co-founder Bee’s home country, South Africa.
The fabric is rimmed with vegetable-tanned leather – much better for the environment than chrome-tanned leather.
When all pieces are put and sewn together… here is Hiro + Wolf dog collar ready to be worn!
Our first thoughts about the collar
Unpacking the box – The first thought I had when unpacking the box was that the collar was really smart. I loved the detail of the stiches of a yellow fluo colour – a perfect contrast with the fabric – and the Hiro+Wolf logo pressed in the leather trimming near the buckle.
I had already held Hiro+Wolf collars in my hands before, and they are sturdy and of good quality. The fabric is backed onto tough polyester webbing, which gives it a certain rigidity and makes it more resistant. The D-ring on this prototype collar was sewn in between fabric layers rather than just secured by the leather trim and rivets. If you didn’t look closely, you wouldn’t notice this detail.
Trying it on – As I buckled the collar on Argo’s neck, I found that the colours looked perfect on his fur. The fabric may stand out even more on dogs with shorter hair (so it is not hidden even in part) or with a dark coat, but it looks pretty cool on Argo who has the colours of the big cats of the Savannah. I often found with collars we have had that with being worn over time makes them even nicer, adapting to a dog’s shape. I reckon that as we use it more and more, probably Hiro + Wolf’s collar will lose a bit of its rigidity and adapt to Argo’s shape.
On a walk – Lately I have been using a figure of eight leash with Argo to help with pulling. He has quickly learnt to pull much less and now I almost never use this leash as a figure of eight leash when we are on walks he knows (unless we come across squirrels, foxes or other wild animals) now, but the leash is not attached to the collar. For this reason, the D-ring of the new Hiro+Wolf collar has not been put under too much strain so far, since only my husband is the one of us who uses the normal leash attached to the D-ring. There will be plenty of occasions to stress-test the collar, though, so we’ll follow up on this point!
Since the collar arrived, we haven’t had any walks under the rain, which is something I like to test collars and leashes for (once we had a black leather leash from another brand that with rain would leak all the colour and you would come home with black hands which was pretty annoying), but I am very confident that with all the tests Hiro and Wolf have done over the years it will be perfect and not being made of fabric means that colour leaking is not likely to occur!
Things to love about love Hiro + Wolf
Supporting local small businesses is important now more than ever, and Hiro+Wolf is firmly a favourite for dogwear. But there is more to love about Hiro+Wolf’s products! Namely, they are:
1. …vibrant and trendy
Vivacious fabrics and designs – East London vibes, mixed with African, Indian and South American influences is their signature. This is what makes Hiro+Wolf’s products so vibrant. It is amazing to see how versatile their products can be, too. You can see them worn on the streets of Shoreditch, but in Fulham or at a wedding they will look gorgeous and a perfect fit too. In fact, co-founder Amy got married last year and Hiro and Wolf’s morning coats were specially made for the occasion with fabric matching the groom’s outfit.
Hiro+Wolf churn out new collections yearly and for the past couple of years they have been introducing them at a great festive fundraiser dog catwalk at Sofa.com Bankside space, raising funds for the Blue Cross at the same time. Don’t you find it a good excuse to regularly pop by at their Columbia Road shop in London or Margate store (when lockdown is over) or browse their website now and then?
2. …ethical and handmade
Talking about climate change and threats to the environment, did you know that poverty and deforestation are deeply intertwined and supporting indigenous people in Africa (as other areas) through sustainable activites such as weaving can go a long way to prevent people from resorting to poaching and intensive agriculture, contributing to save forests and biodiversity? One more reason to appreciate Hiro + Wolf’s ethos, which is all about sourcing materials directly from small producers in Africa and India and pay a fair price, in line with Fair Trade standards. Their sister business, Artisans & Adventurers, which sells home decor items and jewellery (see a basket we purchased from them and that hosts our cactus in the pic above), applies the same ethos and standards.
As already mentioned, Hiro+Wolf’s products are handmade. Designed and produced in the UK, between London, Margate and Stafforshire, with fabrics sourced from their travels.
3. …approved by Hiro and Wolf themselves
The brand was launched in 2013 by Amy and Bee, who had met in London Fields while walking their dogs Hiro and Wolf and realised they had a common love for design, animals and sustainability. Shiba inu Hiro and mongrel Wolf, who have given the name to the brand, have been the very heart of the company and keen product testers. What is not to love about a brand made for dogs by dog lovers and their dogs?
Where to buy and browse Hiro+Wolf collections
You can browse and buy Hiro +Wolf’s collars, leashes, bow ties and other dogwear:
- on their online shop
- at their shop in Columbia Road Market, London
- at their shop in Margate