Em Scodellaro runs the ‘It’s All About the Sash’ Facebook Group and she recently put together a fantastic 40-question survey in relation to Fashions on the Field.
First, Em asked the members of the racing fashion community to voice their opinions and answers to a variety of questions. You can download the full survey results here.
It was a great read, providing an interesting insight into how members of our community feel. Here were the 6 things I found most intriguing, and surprising!
1) Who Should be on the Judging Panel
The judging panel for, anything really, is very important. Contestants go to a lot of trouble to put together their outfits and they should be judged by the best possible panel.
Panels can be made up of just one judge, or even up to 10 for a bigger competition (think the Myer National FOTF competition).
According to the survey, the most preferred people to make up a panel are:
- Racing Fashion experts
- Qualified milliners
- Previous FOTF winners
- Fashion Designers
With the least desirable being:
- General media/journalists
- Fashion brand representatives
- Race club officials
Having judged a number of Fashions on the Field competitions myself, I couldn’t agree more with the top 5 preferred personnel.
A panel made up of racing fashion specific experts is so important because as we all know, racing fashion is quite different to regular fashion. Someone who doesn’t know about racing fashion would not know about what to look for in an outfit and millinery, season appropriateness, or acceptable lengths of skirts, silhouettes etc. and what is trending.
Milliners are always good to have on a panel as their entire career revolves around headwear to suit a racing outfit, they have plenty of experience in knowing what to look for in racewear and can appreciate well made millinery.
Often, judging panels are made up of sponsors, those who sponsor the race day and/or the FOTF prizes. It might be important to have them on the panel, as without them, that particular event or fantastic prize, may not exist. There is nothing wrong with having sponsors on a panel, but it is a good idea to give them a briefing beforehand on what racing fashion is and what to look for when judging.
2) Preferred Prizes
I recently wrote a blog post on some fantastic prizes you can win in Fashions on the Field.
After reading the survey results, I couldn’t agree more that the favourite prize to win is (indeed) a holiday! Followed by cash, flowers (who doesn’t love receiving a big bunch of flowers right?), hotel stays (these also make fantastic gifts for family members and friends, I love giving a night stay away to my mum) and store vouchers.
The least favourite prizes were gym memberships (no one likes to be forced to go to the gym), hampers, race club memberships and wine.
3) Stating what Labels you are Wearing
Sometimes when entering a FOTF competition you may be asked what label you are wearing. Some believe the reason for this is so a sponsor can determine whether you are wearing their brand and, therefore, favour those contestants.
The survey revealed that 83% of entrants said that it should not matter what brand they are wearing and that they should not have to disclose that information.
The only competition I’ve been in that has asked for this information is the Myer State Finals and National competition. I hate to think they ask this question in order to favour a contestant… but, rather, to engage in brand research. Myer may need to identify trending brands, so they know what to stock. If ladies entering the races are all favouring a particular brand, it would be in their best interest to look into adding that brand to their product offering.
Another reason could be to give the MC something to say when introducing the contestants, or to put in a caption on a photo comp entry.
On the other hand, if the reason is so the judging panel know who to favour, then of course, it should be stated in the competition details and entrants can decide to dress accordingly.
4) Stage or Photo Competitions?
It is no surprise that 96% of entrants prefer the traditional format of heats, a catwalk and panel of judges to judge them whilst on stage, as opposed to the newly introduced photo competition.
Some of the main reasons for this were:
- On stage you can show off all aspects of your outfit including the movement of the dress, different angles, fine details that would be lost in a photo.
- Deportment is usually part of the judging criteria, which is lost in a photo. A contestant’s stage presence can give them extra points in the overall judging.
- You get a chance to show off all the effort you went to, putting together an outfit and get your moment in the spotlight on stage in front of a crowd.
- Fashions on the Field is not just for the contestants but for the audience as well. People love to watch the FOTF and chat amongst themselves about preferences.
- A photo competition takes away the community aspect that FOTF has. Often in line, waiting to go on stage, ladies can chat and make new friends. With a photo competition you arrive, have your photo taken and leave again, unless you are called back for the finals.
Others think that photo competitions are better because:
- It is less daunting if you get nervous or anxious on stage in front of a crowd and judging panel.
- It doesn’t take up half the day.
- You receive a nice photo keepsake of the day.
- Encourages more people to enter.
5) How Much People Spend on Racewear
I always find it interesting to know how much contestants spend on race wear each year. Some ladies spend thousands whilst others adhere to a budget. That’s what is so great about racing fashion, you can buy the high end brands or you can hunt for bargains. You can even do a lot of DIY, and as long as you’ve styled it right and it looks good, you’re in the running to win the sash.
Em’s survey showed that most women spend between $1,000 and $5,000 a year (I have to say I am in this category), followed by $500 to $1,000 and then $100 to $500 (I would like to be in this category hehe).
To give you an idea of what it costs me to attend the races each year, here’s a typical breakdown of my annual expenditure on outfits…
In a year I attend around 8 to 10 race days. I get 3 custom dresses and 3 new pieces of millinery made, which can set me back around $4,000. I save money by re-wearing these pieces throughout the year and renting out my hats on Millinery Market.
When I attend a race day I ALWAYS get my hair done, as I cannot do an up style to save my life and like the way it polishes off an outfit. Hair generally costs around $90, which can set me back $1,000 in total.
I save money on accessories by painting cheap shoes the colour I want, or finding earrings on sale throughout the year. Accessories for the year probably cost me $500.
I own quite a few clutches now, which I use for most outfits and may only invest in one or two new clutches a year, totalling around $250.
All expenses considered, the grand total is probably closer to $6,000 a year. Yikes!
6) Motivations for Entering FOTF Competitions
The top five motivations for entrants to enter Fashions on the Field are:
- Putting together an outfit
- The opportunity to dress up
- Social aspect
- The Sash
I love that the main reason ladies like to enter FOTF is because of the enjoyment they get out of putting together an outfit. I could not agree more that this is the most fun part. The lead up, whether it be months of planning, or the thrill of a last minute decision, and throwing something together from your wardrobe. Both are very satisfying!
I always think to myself, what my hobby would be if I didn’t have racing fashion… nothing gives me more joy, something to look forward to and feel excited about than planning an outfit.
It’s also very true that there are not many opportunities to get dressed up to the nines and enjoy a day out with friends, and besides… when else do you get a chance to wear a fabulous hat?
From FOTF, many great friendships are formed. There’s a wonderful social aspect about it and a community of like minded women and men who share the same love for racing fashion. It’s a great chance to attend get togethers and chat through social platforms like The Field Fashion Community Facebook Group.
Thanks Em for conducting the 2018 FOTF Survey! If you haven’t read the full survey results, I recommend you check it out, here’s that link again. What are some survey results that you found interesting, let us know in the comments below!
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