Service95 Logo
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 
Issue #117 The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 

All products featured are independently chosen by the Service95 team. When you purchase something through our shopping links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage  Nayonikaa Shetty and Anugraha Natarajan, courtesy of Feat. Artists

The Creative Agency Platforming Indian Models On The Global Fashion Stage 

As the fashion industry strives to become more inclusive, it’s no longer an anomaly to spot South Asian faces on mainstream global platforms – think runways of top international Houses, brand campaigns and legacy magazine covers. Look at the AW24 shows, for example. You’ll find Indian model Nayonikaa Shetty walking for Dior, Etro, Ferragamo and Del Core. She was also on the cover of Dazed’s winter issue last year. Meanwhile, Kirandeep Chahal was part of the lineup at Erdem, Kenzo Lacoste and Dries Van Noten; Anugraha Natarajan was recently seen in an international campaign for Burberry; and Avanti Nagrath is now a runway and fashion editorial regular. 

But is real change truly afoot or are we still stuck in the tokenism stage? “I think everything starts as a trend or tokenism, and it normalises from there on,” says Smita Lasrado, former model and co-founder of Indian talent management agency Feat Artists (which represents Shetty and Natarajan, alongside a handpicked list of other models). “Our girls are now killing it on the runways and are part of some of the biggest luxury campaigns. But there needs to be that first girl to break the mould,” she adds. 

Over a decade of working across Paris, London, New York and India gave Lasrado an acute understanding of the pain points of being an Indian model traversing international waters. She couldn’t shake off the realisation that India lacked adequate representation of its diverse beauty – the roster, thus far, had always been pandering to the Western gaze. To change that, she launched Feat Artists with creative director Nikhil Dudani in 2018, and the company quickly grew from being a modelling agency to representing Indian creatives across the board. Their first project, with British-Indian designer Supriya Lele, materialised from an Instagram DM. Ever since, they’ve worked with names including Dior, Jimmy Choo, Sabyasachi, Vogue India and Lovebirds, among others.  

More From Service95

“The question is, why did so many of our models start working in India only once they found popularity abroad? There is still this need for a Western stamp of approval to get accepted in your own country,” Lasrado admits. And as the world gets increasingly interconnected, with all eyes on India and its burgeoning luxury industry, the opportunities are plentiful. Yet she finds Indian models still have to fight to break out of the ‘exotic’ box. “Yes, it’s a good time because everybody wants to come to India now. But I’m a bit concerned about the industry’s obsession with newness, now more than ever before. Earlier, an Indian model – or any model, for that matter – could do one Prada exclusive and know she’d have a 10-year career straight off the back of that. Not any more. Now, you can be forgotten in the next six months,” Lasrado reveals. 

She therefore feels it is important for models to be as proud of their local work as they are of their international accolades, and to also take on projects that are in tune with their personality. “I realised agencies were sometimes signing on so many models, trying their luck abroad for a few months and sending back those who didn’t stick, you know, like spaghetti on the wall. I don’t think the intention was wrong, that’s just the business now. But I don’t want to be a part of that,” she says. Small steps lead to bigger changes. “So, at the start, we were like, ‘This girl is so cool… She skateboards, or sings, or plays the guitar, and she’d be so perfect.’ It was almost like putting ideas in the brands’ heads about what this person can do to get them the right placements.” 

Lasrado’s advice to those looking to make it big in modelling today? Develop other areas worth leveraging, build an energy and body language that you can be sought for and constantly better yourself. But, most importantly, think of modelling as a five-year career: “Work really hard, make your contacts and money, and get the f*ck out.” 

Praachi Raniwala is a Mumbai-based journalist whose work has appeared in the Financial Times, The New York Times, Condé Nast Traveller and Vogue India   

Read More

SUBSCRIBE TO SERVICE95 NEWSLETTERS

Subscribe