Relaxed Racing with Racing Fashion

Racing Fashion opts for Wide Brim Hats and never relax too much.

Relaxed Racing????

Well after interviews last year about 'Relaxed Racing' and having a year to see where it goes, I am not seeing much difference or hearing any difference at all except for the advertisments.

Relaxed Racing claims to be where you don't have to dress up, yet just appear through the bushes in what you are wearing and pop into the track, plop yourself on the grass, grab a beer and watch horses running in circles. Is that not what most do during the Summer months of racing at Country Tracks?

The new advertising claim is that the leniency of strict dress code rules although the serious race goer will always have respect for the track and choose to dress in apparel suitable for the occasion. This just seems to be manners for some, but indeed if you are not entering the members you don't have restrictions put on you.

Last year, 'The Fashions on the Field' competitors were wondering what this 'Relaxed Racing' was all about, and was claimed to be part of the Fashion Circuit, although Brodie Worrell wearing Felicity Northeast Millinery had no trouble winning the Blue Diamond Stakes. There was not much Relaxed Racing going on, on stage, although the Melbourne Papers were trying to ask girls to wear 'playsuits' to the races and shorter hemlines. (This was sported by a w.a.g.) Although some W.A.G.s I adore, I cannot stand media attempts for no reason. You must have a purpose.

Blue Diamond will bring out the die hard Fashion on the Field ladies for those in Melbourne who have not seen decent Fashion since November, but this is a big race day, although a day full of faces who know what they are doing. It is competitive and if you are in demand for a trip to an Island this maybe your ticket.

Best bet, don't go down the track of Marsala, Pantone colour of the year. Keep with pastels and Summer hues. Wide brimmed sun hats and trilby's should feature as well as well made headpieces. Keep your heels low and nails short and well manicured.


Blue Diamond to me is now one of the saddest race days as it was when I heard the news that Charlotte Dawson had chosen to leave us. It is not a happy day for me, it is about the ability to wear something we love and enjoy living well. When you hear of a death in your community it shocks you to the core and brings home REAL. It takes away from posing on stage (and yes the show must go on), yet mindfulness and manners go further than any sash ever will.

See Forever New collection, well priced and well attired.

To shop Forever New, Click Here.



#1 Neale Whitaker & David Novak Piper


If men’s style had a dream pairing in Australia it could be these two blokes…and their two dogs. Neale is the editor of Vogue Living and David, an international hair & make-up guru. Together they’re always well-groomed and dressed in colour, impeccable suiting and the obligatory white pants which every Sydney-sider owns. Keep an eye out for an interview with Neale Whitaker we’re publishing very soon.

#2 Paul Hecker


When it comes to Interior Design it’s hard to go past the team at Hecker Guthrie (Creaters of the Lexus Design Pavilion) in Melbourne. Namesake Paul Hecker is a gent we think embodies the classic no-fuss men’s style. Paul masters the casual cool look with tailored shirting, cardigans and eyewear which make for the perfect ‘designer bloke with style’ look.

#3 Buck Palmer


When you go out with one of the Hart sisters you need to bring your A-Game. Model Buck Palmer is our third addition to this year’s list for his ability to look polished both in a suit or casually. Plus he’s not afraid to don a bow-tie at many an occasion. Paired with his stunning fiancée on his arm, Palmer is a man who’s hard to beat.

#4 Nick Russian


Nick flew onto our radar during this year’s Spring Racing Carnival. Well known as a nightclub owner and one time reality TV participant, Nick was easily one of the best dressed men of the Carnival. Classic Italian styling without all the bullshit and pomp one often sees at these events. Away from the track he’s the only man we know who can rock pink trousers and get away with it. Bravo, son.

#5 Lincoln Pilcher


The Australian born and now NYC resident, Lincoln Pilcher is our fifth entry. Maybe it’s because of his photography talent, or his supermodel partner, or just perhaps he’s the personification of the relaxed surfer style we love so much here in Australia. Lincoln always looks as if he’s just stepped off Bondi Beach. He’s this year’s refined rustic entry.

#6 The Button Brothers


Possibly the coolest trio of gentlemen (Mr Marvin Holder & friends) Melbourne has seen in a long time, the Button Brothers have almost single handedly brought double breasted suits, tailor shorts and Panama hats back from the dead. Often seen at the races or polo, the stylish team are making waves in all the right waters.

#7 Mark Bouris


Businessman. No, THE BUSINESSMAN. Good looking, wealthy and well-dressed, Mark is what single women all over the world call a ‘slam dunk’. We just like Mark for his impeccable taste in watches and men’s tailoring. He is quite possibly the best dressed businessman in Australia.

#8 David Abela


Director of Melbourne based 3 Degrees Marketing, David is often snapped at events in bespoke Gucci suits, fine wool sweaters and incredible Italian footwear. And don’t get us started on his offices… Maybe he’s just got good taste…or maybe it’s his wife Rebecca’s doing. Either way, we approve of David in this year’s list. (FYI - David is the only man to have ever given me tuxedo envy.)

#9 Alex Zabotto-Bentley


Former fashion designer turned event guru, Alex Zabotto-Bentley is undoubtedly one of the most dapper men in Sydney. Whether he’s swanning about his Surry Hills office (AZBCreative) or Potts Point home, Alex is a sight of impeccable style. Double breasted suits, loafers and man-rings are just some of his signature style staples.

#10 Brent Wilson


Our final entry but by no means our worst is men’s fashion designer and motoring racing enthusiast, Brent Wilson. When Brent’s not stripping down to his underwear forDNA magazine, he can be seen wearing an array of men’s suiting that make the eyes boggle. Brent has also amassed a strong following of loyal Instagram peeps who love his sartorial vibes.

Compiled by Dmarge, Click Here.


Do show a little shirt beneath your suit cuffs.
Do wear a dress shirt with cuff links – this isn’t just a day at the office!
Do add a buttonhole flower for each day. For Men, this is a must!
Do make sure everything you wear is smart and neat, with no rips or tears.
Don’t forget to consider your socks with your overall look, as they’ll show when you sit down.
Don’t fasten the bottom button on your jacket or waistcoat.
Don’t wear a rain jacket, but do pack an umbrella if it rains.

Op-Ed | Fast Fashion Winners and Losers

As materials, transportation and labour costs rise, putting pressure on margins, producers of fast fashion face growing challenges that only some will survive.

Zara Flagship in New York | Source:

NEW YORK, United States – Much ink has already been spilled over the environmental unsustainability of cheap-chic, throwaway fast fashion. But is the fast fashion model also economically unsustainable? With t-shirts as low as $5 and jeans as low as $10, many companies selling fast fashion have very low margins and are particularly vulnerable to increases in materials, transportation and labour costs. Will these vulnerabilities sink the model? The short answer: for some, yes, but not for all.

Leading fast fashion firms such as Inditex (parent company of Zara) andUniqlo, owned by Fast Retailing, split their sales between core, price-driven items that are made in China and other long lead-time countries and quick selling fashion items that have a heavy design investment and are produced close to its key retail markets. But as wages in China continue to rise, this sourcing matrix is becoming less competitive. Staying ahead of the curve means better forecasting demand to maximise low-cost capacity, without sacrificing quick turnaround times on fashion items.

Stephen Denning, supply chain expert and author of the book Radical Management, says: “Firms like Zara have solved the problem of how to get disciplined execution with continuous innovation. The way they lay out their factories, the design team is right in the middle of the factory, so that the whole process of learning from the manufacturers and vice versa is horizontal.”

Zara makes about half their goods in Spain, in factories the company owns itself. And it keeps those factories about 50 percent unbooked, so they can respond to quick trends. Because the factories are so close to their retail markets, they can completely refresh store inventories every two weeks. “It’s hard to copy, because Inditex is vertically integrated and others are not,” says Nelson Fraiman, professor of decision, risk and operations at Columbia Business School.

This means management has to be agile. Zara has two completely different sourcing teams: one for core items, and one for fast fashion, along with a big design staff watching the runways for new styles. “Zara has 250 designers, but they’re mostly copiers,” says Fraiman.

When margins get squeezed, as happened in 2010 when cotton costs spiked, vertically integrated retailers like Zara can rely on sales of higher margin fast fashion items to give them the breathing room they need to cut their losses on core items and avoid passing rising costs onto customers.

However, for American retailers like Sears or J.C. Penney, it’s a different story. These companies don’t have factories close to their target markets and they don’t have large design teams. They take another retailer’s designs, modify them slightly and send them to the same low-cost Asian factories that a firm like Zara uses to make its basic apparel.

In essence, they make the same fast fashion goods, poorly, on a time line that misses the demand peak. It has worked so far because they can offer the apparel at lower cost. But consumers are quickly losing interest.

“Keeping costs down in very important, but it’s also crucial to give at least similar attention to adding value. Time turns out to be a huge factor in delighting customers,” says Denning.

These companies are getting squeezed on two sides: by rising costs and by consumers who have more options and are becoming more choosy. These trends will only accelerate as the sourcing mix shifts and e-commerce booms. Denning says: “There’s been a massive shift in power in the marketplace from the seller to the buyer. Organisations operating in the old model are dying faster and faster.”

The market is bearing this out: retailers from Abercrombie to Kmart are closing stores, while firms such as Gap are seeing profit increases as they re-orient around the needs of their customers.

Price pressure is already driving some companies to turn a blind eye when subcontractors choose unsafe factories, putting reputations on the line and risking the lives of workers. Now, that’s an unsustainable model. It’s bad for business — and it’s bad for humanity.

Thank you to Business of Fashion, Click Here.

Fashions on the Field: when spring carnival style gets deadly serious by S Carbone

You need more front than Myer to compete in the Fashions on the Field during the spring racing carnival and have your ensemble picked to pieces.

The atmosphere is so intense when the prize pool at Flemington is $400,000, and $100,000 at Caulfield in the Chadstone Fashion Stakes, that one year, a competitor brought a thread unpicker and attacked the jacket of the woman next to her.

The smiles, gritted teeth, broken threads and dreams form a juicy plot for Baz Luhrmann to turn into a film styled on Strictly Ballroom when zealous competitors spend up to $20,000 a year on clothes, shoes and hats to win a $77,465 Lexus and other goodies.

Vivacious Anna Mott owns 400 hats and has documented the tizzy and dizzy world internationally for six years through her Racing Fashions Australia website and television show on Channel 31 with husband, Stephen.

Mrs Mott said it was common for competitors to slam each other or the judges online when there was "one winner and a lot of losers". Wearing hats the size of a satellite dish, she cops criticism as the "crazy hat lady", but it's a label she agrees with.

"I know I am flamboyant and out there and having fun," she said. "I'm not interested in hearing gossip."

Given websites, blogs and social media have sent fashion into the stratosphere with a confetti cannon, Mrs Mott was approached by two TV producers wanting to create a reality TV program - on the proviso that she wasn't  in it.

She discovered a casting director said: "If they are not skinny, clear skin, tall and naturally pretty, I don't want them."

The Victoria Racing Club introduced Fashions on the Field in 1962 to attract more women to the races. Last year, 1400 people entered and competitors who live to compete are called "The Serials" - a term they dislike.

Ms Bodinar spends up to $20,000 on six to eight outfits every season. "I love dressing up," she said. "There are not enough opportunities for a lady to dress as a lady."

Diehard members of her Facebook page are known as "Fashers" and their exuberance is moderated. "If anyone is negative, they are deleted," she said.

Online outrage can be absurd. When fashion designer Craig Braybrook judged the design award last year, he was accused of "rigging" the result because being gay, other gays placed in the top three: Oscar Calvo, Jason Grech and Jason Chetcuti. Mr Braybrook said: "It's not possible to rig it."

Angela Menz, 30, who has competed for 12 years and lost count of her trophies. Crystal Kimber, 25, has entered about 50 competitions and come across dressed-up doctors, scientists and lawyers. "They genuinely have a love of fashion," she said.

Milliner Richard Nylon said fashionistas were brought up with the fame bug and sought the limelight via Instagram or winning Fashions on the Field. "It's a glamorous lottery," he said. "You are the product that you sell and like a company, your cache and status goes up."

Tension isn't restricted to contestants because milliner Melissa Jackson said judges of diffedrent ages and from different backgrounds can clash. "I have had heated discussions with people," she said. "I like to see something young and contemporary and current. Older judges like to see a historical trend."

Mrs Mott sees the emotion close up and the smudged mascara. "I've suggested to people to take a break so they don't get off the stage and stab a judge."

Thank you to The Age, Click Here.

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