If you're enjoying the Ebor Festival at York this week you might be aware that Debenhams and Jeff Banks, one of Britain’s top designers, have officially launched the biggest partnership between racing and fashion the UK has ever seen.

Fashion on the Field at York has been created by Jeff Banks, milliner Yvette Jelfs and June Barker, creator of the hugely successful Clothes Show Live.

It is a high profile style search to find the Best Dressed Racegoer at the York Ebor Festival, where the winner will walk away with an amazing array of prizes including a £500 spending spree in Debenhams, exclusive goody bags from Yves Saint Laurent and Elemis, a photo shoot in London with a top photographer, dinner at The Ivy, a pair of custom made Jimmy Choo couture shoes and a fabulous week's holiday in St Vincent for two people courtesy of Harlequin Hotels and Resorts.

Milliner Yvette Jelfs will join Jeff to host each day, and guest judges throughout the event will include Lorraine’s Mark Heyes, designers Matthew Williamson, John Rocha, Aliza Reger, Andrew Fionda, Ren Pearce and Ben de Lisi plus Editor of Yorkshire Life Esther Leach, Sunday Best Editor Jan Shutt, Maxine Gordon from the York Press and Emma Gunavardhana, Fashion and Beauty Editor from OK! Magazine.

Already a very well established event in both the fashion and racing calendars at The Melbourne Cup in Australia, Fashion in the Field was the first venture where the worlds of fashion and racing successfully come together in a commercial project. Thousands of racegoers have entered the Australian competition since it started, something both Debenhams and Fashion on the Field are keen to replicate here.

Says Jeff Banks: “I love going to the races and seeing what people are wearing, as it is one of the few events where both men and women really dress up. Women especially love putting together their outfit and accessories, and of course a hat is a must!

“Our panel of judges will be looking for a real stand-out look to crown as the first ever winner.”

Occasion dressing is a huge business for Debenhams – selling millions of pounds worth of dresses each summer. With the retailer being the first choice for many for the races, stores in close proximity to large race meetings including York, Epsom and Goodwood see occasionwear sales boosted by up to 48% over the peak race season. 

Debenhams CEO Rob Templeman said: “Debenhams is delighted to be sponsoring Fashion on the Field in the UK. It is a perfect fit, as fashion and racing have always gone hand in hand.” 

This unique, new event to the racing world gives consumers another reason to attend the races, and now more than ever dressing for the races is becoming a significant part of the fashion calendar.

Contestants can enter on the day as there will be dedicated style scouts circulating the racecourse to encourage every stylish dresser they see (whether it’s a man or woman!) to enter. Each day there will be a heats winner who will receive £150 worth of vouchers from Debenhams, and a bottle of champagne. Each heats winner will be invited back on Saturday 20th August to take part in the Grand Final.

Allison Graham

Allison is the Publisher of Eclipse Magazine. She loves going to the Races and is learning to bet (despite being officially the worst bettor in the History of the Universe), there's a lot more to learn...

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