In 2018, the Melbourne Cup Carnival delivered record sales for fashion brands.
In fact, the four days of the Victoria Racing Club’s (VRC) 2018 Melbourne Cup Carnival saw a record $35.4 million fashion haul.
This is up 9.5% on the previous year, as revealed in the annual economic impact study.
The $35.4 million in spending was on 357,928 individual fashion items, including 54,821 pairs of shoes, 49,559 dresses, 19,089 suits and 55,433 hats and fascinators.
Each year, the VRC assigns an independent body to analyse the performance of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Data compiled by IER also found the 2018 Melbourne Cup Carnival was responsible for a record total of $447.6 million in gross economic benefit to Victoria last year.
This is a boost of almost 20% since 2014.
However in the wake of a 'Nup To the Cup' movement, spurred by reports of horrific animal abuse, industry insiders are starting to ask if an alternate fashion event should be created.
Former Mimco MD Cathryn Wills is owner of ethical accessories brand Sans Beast.
In a post this week, the brand questioned the ramifications of the Cup particularly in an age where ethics and sustainability are key pillars for fashion brands.
"We know how glamorous race days look - been there, done that.
"But animal exploitation - aka using animals for human profit - is at the core, no matter how many rose coloured glasses we pop on our pretty faces.
"We stand with the horses, past and present, who are pushed to triumph for humans, and if they're deemed as 'surplus', are sent to a grim and terrifying death.
"Let's find another reason to get together and celebrate - horses deserve better from us."
Cult Melbourne shoe brand Twoobs also backed 'Nup The Cup' in an Instagram post today.
"Taylor Swift said nup. Lana Condor said nup. Team TWOOBS said nup. Will you say nup?"
When contacted by ragtrader.com.au, major Melbourne Cup sponsor Myer said it would be monitoring the situation.
A Myer media spokesperson has confirmed it supports animal welfare and will be monitoring the response closely.
"As a sponsor of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, we are closely monitoring the action being taken by the authorities, who are empowered to oversee racing policy and practices, to ensure it meets the standards we expect, and those of our customers, in improving animal welfare.
"We welcome the action being taken by the VRC and Racing Victoria to ensure the welfare of horses on and off the track, particularly through the recently announced VRC Equine Wellbeing Fund."
What are your thoughts on this issue?