Guest Posts

5 Minutes with Milano Imai

Milano is someone who is very well known in the Fashion on the Field industry and her Facebook group is one of the reasons I entered my first FOTF competition last year. I also love her sense of style, so I was very excited to interview her! With the FOTF national competitions recently starting too, it was perfect timing to get her insights into all things fashion. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I am a racing fashion blogger from the Gold Coast. I have a passion for design and styling, and enjoy showcasing my own unique racewear creations in Fashions on the Field Competitions, which I’ve been entering for around 8 years now! Over the past three years I have judged numerous FOTF competitions throughout Australia and internationally. In 2015, I started the milanoimai.com blog where I shares style tips, DIY ideas, interviews, race day updates and trend reports.

I am also the founder of Millinery Market, an online marketplace that makes it easy to buy or rent a beautiful hat from talented milliners and race enthusiasts across Australia and internationally.

How did you first get involved in Fashions on the Field?

I discovered FOTF by chance. Seven years ago I was working for a boutique who was sponsoring Fashions on the Field prizes. My manager asked if I would like to go along to hand out some flyers and do some promo… excited for a day off work to head to the races, I went along. It was actually the first time I’d seen a FOTF competition and I was blown away by the stunning women and their beautiful hats and outfits.

A few months later for Melbourne Cup, I put together what I thought was a racing outfit on a whim, visited my first hat store, bought a fascinator which I added a few things to, and to my amazement, won the FOTF! I’ve been hooked ever since!

Where do you get inspiration for your outfits?

Outfit inspiration can come from all over the place. I can find a beautiful fabric and an idea for a dress with a particular silhouette will pop into my mind, I can see different colour combinations in my daily life that I love and want to recreate into an outfit, I scroll through social media a lot and follow my favourite brands on there and browse a lot of online shopping websites.

Do you have a go-to race day item of clothing?

I love a BIG hat with my outfits!! I think a big hat suits most outfits and is such a stand out feature. I am also a sucker for a beautiful pair of earrings and enjoy scouring the internet for the perfect pair to match my outfit.

Do you have a favourite race day outfit that you’ve worn? If yes, what was it?

I love all my custom outfits, but so far my absolute favourite is my duck egg blue pleated dress that Andrew Semple and I worked on together. A lot of work went into this dress from the design, to baking the pleats ourselves in the oven, to hand painting the tulle and lace embellishments, which I also hand beaded and spent over 100 hours on.

Image: Wendell Teodoro

What tips would you give to ladies and gentlemen looking to enter their first Fashions on the Field competition?

First and foremost, I’m a big fan of dressing in things you love and that represent YOU! For the absolute beginners, if you have no idea what to wear, it’s worth following a few racing fashion blogs and looking at photos of past competition entrants to get a feel for the standard and vibe of the competition.

I have written a lot of blogs for the racing beginner which can be found here.

And remember, it’s all a bit of fun – get on stage, show off what you’ve put together, smile, make some new friends, share some compliments and enjoy it.

You have already written a blog post about this on your own blog, but what spring trends are you predicting? What are you most excited about?

This year I am excited to see big voluminous sleeves in a variety of different styles, pleats (I am currently having a beautiful pleated dress made) and stunning luxe fabrics that feature a loud print such as big blooms or stripes.

For millinery, new trends that I love are rear facing hats and bandeaus!

For more trends, you can download my full report here.

Tell us a bit about Millinery Market

At Millinery Market, I believe every woman should be able to experience the magic of wearing beautiful, handcrafted millinery. To feel really special as you proudly wear your one-of-a-kind hat that perfectly complements your race day look.

For milliners, I’ve created a platform where they can showcase their creativity and design skills to thousands of women every month. I want everyday racegoers to discover your amazing work and have your hats be seen at racecourses across the country.

For racegoers, I’ve simplified the process of finding and purchasing beautiful millinery. With the biggest selection and filters to help narrow your search, you can quickly find the perfect hat, sometimes even available for pickup in your local area. For those on a budget, you can try renting a hat instead and wear a different hat to every race.

What do you enjoy doing outside of fashions on the field?

When I’m not at the track or busy planning race outfits, I like to go for walks along the beach (I’m very lucky living on the Gold Coast we have such beautiful scenery), lunching and hang out with my friends.

I’m a bit of a home body these days so most weekends you will find me hanging around the house working on my blog and business and eating hot chips in my track pants (so unglam!).

Milano is very well known in the Fashion on the Field industry with amazing style & has a growing Facebook group connect Fashion on the Field competitors.

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