Mittys, That Winning Form

Mittys, That Winning Form

                                                   by Bernard Kenny

How many jockey racing colours did you see at the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival with the Mittys logo featured on the back of the jockey’s collar?

As Mittys says ‘Like you, Mittys is totally committed to success – our racing colours lead in the field in technologically superior design and aesthetics to give you the winning edge in a highly competitive sport.’

Today Mittys prides itself as a national leader in the manufacture of sponsored livery for the racing industry including saddle cloths, strappers jackets and presentation rugs, as featured at many of our Racing Carnivals.

Mittys greatly expanded some five years ago when parent company Evan Evans invested in new machinery and digital printers that enabled Mittys to exported to Dubai, Doha, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and USA.

Mitts always maintained their manufacturing business and amalgamated with Evan Evans, who are Australia’s oldest and largest manufacturer of flags, banners and event signage, and co-designer of the Australian flag.

Established in 1905 Mittys originally manufactured racing colours, bookmakers tote boards and bookmakers’ bags. The racing colours were all made of silk.

In the 1970’s nylon colours were introduced to the market by Mitis where the appliqued designs were sewn onto the garment.

In the mid 1980’s Mittys started experimenting with printing the design, the aim was to reduce the weight of the colours and make them a more comfortable garment for the Jockeys to wear.

Mittys invested heavily in this technology and in 1991 we had perfected this printing technology with Bart Cummings exclusively using Mittys Colours after Let’s Elope won the 1991 Melbourne Cup.

Bart Cumming jockey colours now weighed the same as a plain set of colours, and in the 1990’s Mittys invested in digital printing technology a decade prior to their competitors.

At one stage Mittys were DuPont’s largest client and one of the biggest digital printers of fabric in the world.
With the technology in place Mittys manufactured colours with the latest technically advanced extremely light and comfortable material that kept the jockeys warm in winter and cool in summer.

In the 1980’s they established book & souvenir shops on most major racecourses throughout Australia in the 1980s at Flemington, Moonee Valley, Caulfield, Randwick, Canterbury, Eagle Farm, Doomben, Gold Coast and Ascot.

The introduction of the internet and racing live on television greatly changed the whole dynamic of Mittys retail business, which was subsequently sold.

While the origin of today’s Jockey Racing Colours may stem England in 1515, in the reign of King Henry VIII, they were established in the 1700s, when ownership increased and confusion emerged from duplicate colours.

In 1762 The Jockey Club at Newmarket requested that owners submit specific colours for their jacket and cap. Many were aristocratic family colours possibly stemming from medieval times when jousts were held between knights.

The first jockey’s cap were generally made of velvet with a peak or visor and a hatband fastened at the front with a buckle. In the 19th century a lighter silk version began to be worn by jockey in the stable colours.

The term ‘silks’ was used in the United States to refer to racing colours, white breeches and bib, To ‘don silks’ was a rite of passage for a jockey in his first race ride.