“Shell suits” are back in fashion – for tortoises and snails at least. The made-to-measure, tea cozy-style crochet designs that snugly fit any shelled frame are the work of Katie Bradley. The project has fast become a sell-out success with orders coming in from all over the world and Bradley now offers 25 designs, including shark and stegosaurus outfits on online store Etsy.com. But if you don’t want your critter to be disappointed, order now because there’s a six-week waiting list. The US-based crocheter tells Metro about the family joke that became a fashion phenomenon.
Metro: The fashion industry is notoriously fast-paced with its constantly changing trends. Will you be offering seasonal collections or are you happy to continue crocheting at a snail’s pace?
Absolutely. Quite a few of my designs already are seasonal. I am working on several patriotic Independence Day designs, and also have plans for some new Halloween tortoise cozies (one design looks like an eyeball). I’ve also made some more glamorous designs for clients by incorporating sequins and beads by special request.
Sequins and beads sound like you’re heading into couture. So are the cozies only for special occasions?
The snails only wear their cozies for photo ops. The rest of the time they’re happy to dine nude in my garden.
Of course. Why is there such demand for what’s a frankly bizarre item?
Tortoise keepers love their tortoises. Often the critter has been in the family for a long time, and is considered a part of the family. People like to dress up their dogs, cats, chickens and frogs … so dressing up a tortoise isn’t such a strange idea. Okay, it is a strange idea but is a very cute strange idea.