Foreign models shine on Indian ramp: Designers tell you why?

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This should be an eye-opener of the seven new models chosen for this month’s Lakme Fashion Week (LFW), only three are homegrown while one is of mixed Indian origin. Foreign models are obviously in high demand on the Indian ramp.

Fashion experts say Indian models need better grooming, more confidence and the right attitude. Some also say foreign models — mostly from Russia, Ukraine and Romania — are needed on the catwalk to cater to the needs of international fashion buyers.

“As it’s an Indian fashion week, our first choice would always be Indian girls, but I can’t see a lot of good-looking women. I think they need to get groomed more,” designer Rohit Gandhi told IANS at the auditions of Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW).

Gandhi was one of the jury members for the All India model auditions for WIFW, which is to be held in April.

“Indian models look good, they are tall and attractive, but the only problem with them is their walk and confidence on the ramp are not so good. Foreign models have done the ramp; so that gives us an advantage because when we make them walk for us, we know that they won’t make a mistake. Indian girls are also very good, but they need to get their act together,” he added.

LFW is to be held from March 11 to 15 in Mumbai. Previous editions of WIFW in Delhi and LFW in Mumbai have seen many foreign models walking the ramp in Western as well as traditional Indian outfits.

Last year’s WIFW Spring-Summer 2011 had eight international models and seven Indian models. This time again for WIFW Autumn-Winter 2011 that starts April 6, the majority are foreign models.

Ace designer Rohit Bal says the new breed of women models needs to work hard on basics – like walk and confidence level.

“It’s not about foreign models or Indian models; your basics should be clear and a lot of new models lack these because of the way they walk and their attitude on the ramp, among other things,” he said.

Adds Gandhi: “We don’t train models. We can just give them a chance. That’s all we can do. I wish there are more agencies that can groom the girls before they come on the ramp. That will be really good for us.”

Another reason for having foreign models on the ramp is they help in attracting international buyers.

“We need to have international models on the ramp because we have a lot of international buyers and they want to see the dresses on different body types,” said designer Manav Gangwani.

“There is nothing lacking in Indian girls but they need to work harder on themselves and outdo foreign models.”

Model-turned-actor Milind Soman, who was also one of the jury members at WIFW auditions, says a good mix of Indian and foreign models can help the international aspect of the fashion business.

“Since the time I have been modeling, there has been a huge jump — most of the models here can model anywhere in the world. They are really good and much better compared to my time,” Milind told IANS.

“Here (fashion week) it is a bit difficult to choose models because it is fashion week and you are not choosing them for one designer, but for many other designers. Some of them (designs) are Western; some are traditional, fusion and experimental. So the models you choose have to be as versatile as possible. It’s good to have a mix and give an international look because the business is international.

“We want to promote Indian models and create as many international Indian models. Foreign models are also not big international models, but they have groomed themselves,” he added.

Anil Chopra, CEO of Lakmé Lever, also feels that the presence of international models helps international buyers.

“The jury selects models on the basis of height, poise, ability to showcase the designer’s garments. LFW holds auditions every season to spot outstanding new talent. In the previous season, the LFW jury selected four models and for the coming season Summer-Resort 2011, it chose seven models — a mix of both Indian and international models.

“We include international models as it helps international buyers review the collection as LFW has a strong presence of international buyers and media.”

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