It may’ve been a decade since the fair vs dusky debate in fashion, and darker skin tones may’ve been touted stylish a trillion times over, but white-skinned models are still preferred to indigenous ones for major fashion events in the country, as revealed by the recently conducted Lakme Fashion Week model auditions in Mumbai.
Out of the 150 models who auditioned for the event, to be held from March 11-15 in Mumbai, only three of those that were selected were Indian, pointing towards a possible discrimination on the basis of skin colour.
Designers and organisers have different explanations for their choice. “Foreign models fare better at auditions because they understand fashion better, and their body is better toned. Also, they charge less than established Indian models,” says Sunil Sethi, president, Fashion Design Council of India.
“The event has a strong presence of international buyers, and international models help them review the collection on a global customer,” says Anil Chopra , CEO, Lakme Lever. Designer Rina Dhaka says the popularity also has to do with money. “You’ll get two foreign models for the price of one Indian model. Also, foreign models have fewer inhibitions. They carry off anything with ease.”
Model agencies say there has only been an increase in the trend, not on just on the ramp, but also for magazine and ad shoots. “The preference for foreign models has grown by 40% over the last three years. A reason for this is also that foreign models are readily available now,” says Pankhuri Singh of Elite Model Management.
models say it’s time fashion-makers thought differently. “I don’t know why our fashion frat has a fetish for fair skin. Indians have a beautiful skin tone, which should be appreciated,” says model Sonalika Sahay.