The Delhi Fashion Week has many firsts to it. Besides being the first edition, this is the first time that international choreographers have been called in to train our models. However, this move is causing a good of deal backstage resentment — the Indian models feel that they are being elbowed out by the foreign choreographers, who have brought with them eight international models (six from south Africa, two from Colombia).
Says a model on condition of anonymity, “These choreographers are very biased. They push their girls for almost all the shows. That’s unfair.” Another model, who is two seasons old in fashion weeks, says, “We are not A-listers, so we can’t say much.”
They were humiliated at fittings sessions, allege the models. “They [the foreign choreographers] would say things like ‘their thighs are huge’ or ‘their butt is not shapely’ or ‘they can’t walk right’. And all this after we have actually done two seasons.”
One female Indian model rues that she was dropped from a show at the fittings session for not carrying off an Indian garment well! This woman also feels that a lot of young designers are “being advised” to go for a foreigner. The male models are luckier, as there is no international competition. However, they know what’s going on. “Yes, the female models faced uncalled-for remarks and a few were replaced by international models,” says a male model. Some industry veterans say this ‘discrimination’ is merely a preference for professionalism. “Internationally, models are not given such queen-like treatment [as in India],” says a PR person.
The choreographers concerned said that they only listen to the designers when choosing models. “Designers are God. There is no truth to the [models’] statement,” said Jan Malan, head, jan malan umzingeli, the producer and choreographer of DFW. But when HT City mentioned that some models have complained that the designers were “told” to drop some models, he agreed, “That is quite possible. I agree that has happened, but our job is just to advise them. Finally, they decide.”