Pictured on Mermaid Beach, Milano Imai who has created 'Millinery Market' which is an online marketplace where women can rent or buy millinery for the races rather than having to shell out huge bucks and go searching across the city for the perfect raceday hat or fascinator. Picture Mike Batterham
Pictured on Mermaid Beach, Milano Imai who has created 'Millinery Market' which is an online marketplace where women can rent or buy millinery for the races rather than having to shell out huge bucks and go searching across the city for the perfect raceday hat or fascinator. Picture Mike Batterham

The Airbnb for race day fashion

FIRST there was Airbnb, then Uber and now a marketplace for fascinators is hopping aboard the sharing economy - welcome to the Millinery Market.

The brains behind the online marketplace is Gold Coast fashionista Milano Imai who has racegoers across the country jumping on the back of her hat trick just in time for Magic Millions race day next weekend.

Milano Imai has created 'Millinery Market' an online marketplace where women can rent or buy millinery. She has more than 200 hats on her website already. Picture Mike Batterham
Milano Imai has created 'Millinery Market' an online marketplace where women can rent or buy millinery. She has more than 200 hats on her website already. Picture Mike Batterham

The 28-year-old started the website six months ago to allow women to rent or buy handcrafted millinery from milliners and race enthusiasts across Australia.

Already the marketplace has been a treat with over 85,000 visitors and more than 300 members trading hats.

But there is only one rule: no factory produced hats.

"Good quality millinery can cost a pretty penny anywhere between $400 and $800 and there are only so many times you can wear it," she said.

"I've worn one of my pieces more than seven times and I know I won't ever wear it again, it's been over done.

"My most expensive hat cost me $1,000 so I probably wouldn't trade that but I own about 10 hats that I would love to share with people."

The Mermaid Waters resident has tapped into a niche market that has inspired women to get a hat in time for the races. Picture Mike Batterham
The Mermaid Waters resident has tapped into a niche market that has inspired women to get a hat in time for the races. Picture Mike Batterham

Ms Imai said she attends between 10 and 20 races a year as a fashion blogger.

The Mermaid Waters resident said the idea came to her out of outfit-frustration.

"I was really struggling to find the right hat for my outfit," she said.

"The platform helps to make quality millinery accessible to the everyday racegoer by simplifying the process of finding and renting a hat, and it allows our talented Aussie milliners to showcase their creativity and design skills to a much wider audience."


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