Special Correspondent (Mumbai): Why Indian models are making it big abroad? Rihanna had chosen a 19-year-old Indian girl, Naomi Janumala as the face of her brand. Naomi Janumala is the face of Rihanna’s fashion brand.
That Rihanna had chosen a 19-year-old Indian girl, Naomi Janumala, to be the face of her cosmetic brand Fenty’s clothing line, generated a lot of excitement. Janumala was only 16 when she was spotted by Gunita Stobe of Anima Creative Management, a Mumbai-based modeling agency that pitches Indian models to big design houses across the world, including Fendi and Louis Vuitton.
There are several popular Indian faces in the roster of models seen on international ramps, like Bhumika Arora and Pooja Mor, and now Indian male models too are gaining traction in the industry, walking the runways in the big four-Paris, Milan, London, and New York.
Up until even just a couple of seasons ago, they were not popular. However, more and more, it seems, Indian models, male and female, are leading the charge in diversifying the fashion scene in the west. Criticized for casting mostly Caucasian models on the runway or ad campaigns, fashion houses in the west are no longer limiting their search to typical white girls. Add to this the success of transgender models Andreja Pejic and Hari Nef, and you get a revolution against the conventional ideas of beauty and body.
Chakshu Sharma for BUSCEMI, Milan Fashion Week 2019. Credits: Anima Creative Management PVT LTD.
Pratik Shetty, for example, recently walked for MSGM at the Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 20, last month. Tall, dark and lean, Shetty landed 15 shows during the fashion week and topped it off by closing the show for Lanvin. Another Indian model, Tahir Brahmbhatt, was launched in an exclusive debut for Louis Vuitton, while Chakshu Sharma made his entrance last season with Marni and, later walked for Loewe. Mustafa Dawood, with the Elite Modelling Agency, has walked for Antonio Marras, Valentino, Prada, and Alexander McQueen.
Much of it can be attributed to the change of guard in the fashion industry, where criticism against designers only casting white models has forced a change in attitudes. “With the International Fashion Industry finally including faces from all ethnic backgrounds, it was just a matter of time before Indian male models arrived on the Global stage. It’s a bit of a trend at the moment with new faces popping up each season and we hope it will not just be that, a trend, but a mainstay in the seasons to come,” says Stobe.