Reinventing the Racing Silk

14 May

I have been working on this Racing For Change project for the past few weeks with lovely Freerange and it seemed almost ridiculous not to feature it on this blog – especially as I have been asking others to do the same. Having fessed up to the fact it is 100% work (which I always do) I thought I might as well also post the press release whole.

It’s almost 250 years since jockeys began wearing silks in horse races – allowing them to be easily identified during a race – since which time they have been few changes until now…
In an effort to bring jockeys’ attire into the 21st century, Racing For Change – an organisation set up to broaden the appeal of horseracing – has commissioned a series of revolutionary new designs from students currently studying at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design.
A shortlist of 13 finalists has been announced and their entries will be shown at a public exhibition at Central Saint Martin’s Innovation Centre, along with each of the student designs initially submitted. Judges will be choosing one winner, whose designs will go on to be worn by the country’s top jockeys in a race at Britain’s premier racecourse, Ascot, on 9th July 2011.

Designs from Rachel Sale & Sophie Gate

Traditional coloured diamonds, stripes, chevrons and circles used on racing silks have been replaced by an amazing array of eye-catching modern graphics including;
• Racing colours based on the lucky combinations of fruit machine symbols such as oranges, cherries, the number seven and lemons – from Henry Griffin

• Lucky charms such as a wishbone, four-leaf clover, crossed fingers, a horse shoe, a rabbit’s foot and even a ‘lucky’ bird dropping – from Jessica Hall and Ella de Weijer

• Racing colours based on the theme of ‘Looks Like…’, taking items from a traditional British picnic and aiming to make life easier for the commentator and the race judge with their very differences, for example a scotch egg, slice of watermelon, an egg and cress sandwich and even a strawberry – from Rachel Sale and Sophie Gates.

Rod Street, Chief Executive of Racing for Change said:

“Racing silks have been around since 1762 when the Jockey Club decided that some form of differentiation was necessary in order to assist the race judge. Nowadays, they’ve all been standardized and have become rather boring so we thought it was time to create some new graphics, colours and visual ideas.

Designs from Maelle Bataille

Students who took part weren’t constrained by the current shapes and colours, but were expected to come up with striking designs that would communicate to punters, race goers and TV viewers. The students spent a day at the races and went away to design their racing silks for the 21st century. We have been very impressed with the quality of the work.”

In all 37 students took part in the competition, which was launched in March this year. The work of the13 finalists will be shown at a public exhibition at St Martin’s College on 19th – 20th May. The winning student’s designs will be sewn into silks to be worn in a special race at Ascot on July 9th.

Please visit for further information.

Do let me know if you are interested in this story, or featuring it on your own blog / site. It’s very on trend for colour blocking 😉

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