New Zealand's national fashions in the field final, The Ned Prix de Fashion, turned into a virtual competition this season due to a lockdown in Auckland forcing the cancellation of the planned event.
The competition featured 15 finalists from around the country who had each won a qualifying competition at a raceday around New Zealand over the spring / summer and went on to submit images and an optional video of their outfit (or "entry").
Our panel of eight judges from New Zealand and Australia then had the unenviable task of narrowing the field down to five grand finalists - one of whom is Abby Button - a visual merchandiser for a popular clothing brand who runs her own styling business with the backing of a fashion degree.
Ahead of the announcement as to who will take out the competition's Supreme Award, we had a chat with Abby to learn a little more about this kiwi lass whose life is entrenched in fashion - plus we got the inside info on her gorgeous entry.
You are well and truly living in the world of fashion - tell us a little more about how you spend your work days.
"I work as the Witchery Visual Merchandiser for Christchurch part-time, as well as running a fashion styling business with services that include style consultations, wardrobe audits, personal shopping and editorial styling.
"I have a degree in fashion design and I studied fashion styling in Melbourne too - so I love all aspects of fashion and enjoy and keep busy working in a few different areas of the industry.
"My time is also spent making all my own outfits for the competitions I enter."
Was there anything unusual or unique about your outfit?
"I think something unique about my outfit is my incredible hat made by Ali Moor.
"Often I make my own hats but for this special occasion I really wanted to work with Ali as I have loved her work for the longest time!
"I love the raffia flowers she made and then I ended up doing raffia stitching around the hat to finish it off.
"It was very special for me to be able to work with her and wear her work.
"Also, I think it was a bit unique to wear long elbow glove. Most gloves are definitely done and dusted for fashions on the field (FOTF) but I have noticed over the past few months that long gloves are making a comeback in fashion.
"It was definitely a bit of a risk and something I was hesitant about, but I think it was worth the risk as I think it completed my overall look."
What inspired you for your outfit?
"The concept of weaving modern and classic racewear together was my inspiration for this outfit.
"I really wanted to incorporate current trends and yet still be a little classic."
You won your qualifier in Wellington and from there, had a few months to pull get your outfit for The Ned Prix de Fashion together. How long did it take for you to plan the whole thing and where did you get the idea for the fun use of colour?
"I started planning my outfit the night I qualified at Wellington Cup. I got back to my hotel and started brainstorming with my husband and my friend.
"I had so many ideas for my outfit and actually started to make another design before coming back to this idea.
"I noticed orange being very "in" this season, plus it's a colour I don't normally wear so I thought it would be special to wear something different for me.
"I actually designed this outfit with another fabric in mind and when I went to go and pick it up, it had sold out which was gutting!
"I spent many days looking for something similar and was over the moon when I found this fabric in a little fabric shop in Christchurch!"
What or who is your style influenced by?
"My style has always been inspired by colour.
"I am a colour lover and I am always experimenting with different colour combinations and textures."
What might people be surprised to know about you?
"That I kinda fell into FOTF by working behind-the-scenes dressing models when I was 16 at the old fashion shows that Addington Raceway used to run in between their FOTF heats.
"I just remember watching the competition and falling in love with racing fashion and as soon as I turned 18 I started going along myself and entering.
"I love learning more and more about horse racing every race meet I go to, but fashion was what first got me to the track.
"Oh and that I cut my long hair off the morning of the photo shoot especially for this outfit!"
What differences did you notice between entering a runway competition vs online?
"That my feet were not sore at the end of the day!
"Haha nah honestly the biggest difference for me was not being surrounded by all of my FOTF friends.
"I really missed that this year as I love chatting with everyone about what they are wearing.
"Doing a photoshoot and walking the runway were just as awkward for me!"
What would you say to someone who would consider entering such a competition for the first time?
"It's not as scary as it looks!
"Talk to some of the FOTF girls for some tips and tricks and have a go as there's nothing to lose and an awesome experience to gain."
Abby and the four other Grand Finalists each remain in the running to be named 'Supreme Winner' of The Ned Prix de Fashion 2021 and take home the winner-takes-all $20,000 prize package from The Ned and Victoria Racing Club - plus the coveted title of being New Zealand racewear's national titleholder for the 2020/21 season.
Stay tuned for the announcement of the Supreme Winner of The Ned Prix de Fashion which will follow next week.
To see all the finalists, click here
To learn more about the judges and The Ned Prix de Fashion, click here
More Grand Finalist updates will be landing on this blog soon too!