Guest Blog by  Annette Kaiser, Goodwill Keystone Area

You never know what you’ll find at Goodwill Keystone Area’s Tilghman Square store in Allentown, PA. Two regular customers at the gently used clothing racks are fashion designers Maribel and Jana Nieves, a mother-daughter team who own a studio called Bel Bijoux Couture in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Bel Bijoux Couture
Maribel and Jana Nieves, a mother-daughter team, in their studio.

While their shop looks like any other design studio — with spools of brightly colored thread and coat trees draped with rich textures and fabrics — the design pages and patterns folded neatly in rows of hangers are in miniature. That’s because this couture isn’t designed for humans, it’s designed for their pets.

The Nieves specialize in one-of-a-kind pet coats and were recently featured on NAT GEO WILD’s “Spoiled Rotten Pets.”  Their  favorite place to shop for material is the Goodwill store in Allentown,  because the selections of vintage clothes and modern fashions spurs their imagination and gives them endless choices for fabrics, buttons and other accessories that go into their line.

“When we work with a customer, they tell us what colors and type of fabric they would like,” said Jana Nieves. “We go to Goodwill, browse all sorts of pieces from skirts to jackets, from coats and pants. Once we find something that meets the description, we’ll take a picture and send it to them. You never know what you will find at Goodwill.”

Dogs Modeling Custom Coats
These fashionable dogs had their custom outfits created from Goodwill finds.

Jana Nieves says she can design and create up to three pieces from one Goodwill garment.  Unlike the “sleepy” bolted fabrics found on the shelves of retail textile stores, “the pieces we find at Goodwill have a certain life to them that transform into beautiful pieces.”

For more information on Bel Bijoux Couture, visit t  Custom coats start at $55 and are guaranteed to fit your life, your style and your pet.

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