Many small-dog owners know the struggle: running errands with their furry mate can sometimes mean lugging around a bulky dog carrier that’s more like a cage than a safe haven.

Partners (and pet owners) Margaret Outridge and Timothy Rogers have experienced the problem first-hand. And after seeing others struggle with it at their local park in the inner-Melbourne suburb of South Yarra, the couple was inspired to find a solution.

“People take [their dogs] to the park, to grab coffee, to go shopping, but there’s a lack of stylish and comfortable options on the market [for carrying them],” Outridge says.

Enter St Argo, a swish pet-accessories label that uses plush vegan leather to make carriers, leads and collars for cosmopolitan pups.

Outridge describes the range as “simple, chic and classic”: “The colours are seasonal, the pieces are functional and everything blends in with whatever you have in your wardrobe,” she says.

There are two matte-look carrier styles: the Lola, which could pass as an open-topped designer handbag, except it has a padded headrest for your dog; and the Frank, a more discreet style that can be zipped closed to keep your dog cosy. The carriers are lined with washable, canvas-like material made from recycled plastic bottles, and are packaged in Melbourne, but manufactured in China.

Both come in classic black and two other colours – pale pink and powder blue for the Lola (designed for dogs up to six kilograms), and olive green and caramel brown for the Frank (for dogs up to eight kilograms).

The leads and collars are made with the same soft-finish, scratch-proof polyurethane vegan leather as the bags. They come in seven colourways and have recycled cork fittings.

“I don’t like dressing my dog in actual leather, I think it goes a bit against the grain,” Outridge says.

Outridge and Rogers’ toy cavoodle, Nina, is their dog-fashion muse. And they plan to adopt a rescue sibling for her when they move into a bigger apartment.

Outridge grew up on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland with a rescue dog, so the issue is close to her heart.

“I think people don’t want to adopt from pounds because it takes the glamour out of getting a puppy, or they think the puppy might have problems,” she says. “But I know these dogs will thank you so much every day for rescuing them.”