This New Modeling Agency Is All About Diversity

by Emily Kirkpatrick

Along with issues of health, diversity on the runway is one of the most glaringly obvious problems the fashion industry continues to face. After news outlets began repeatedly (and justly) pointing out this obvious lack of model variety, casting agents have attempted to assuage the media by including a single racially-diverse model here and there and feeling they've checked off their token minority quota. Unsurprisingly, if you couldn't already see that nothing has really changed, the diversity statistics from the Fall 2015 shows demonstrate that eight in every ten models that came down the runway were caucasian. But a new London-based modeling agency, Lorde Inc, is looking to change all of that and in a radical way.

Established by Nafisa Kaptownwala, an art history graduate, in 2013, Lorde Inc isn't your typical agency, largely based on street casting with an emphasis on models of color who are considered outside of the traditional beauty spectrum as dictated by the fashion industry. Kaptownwala foresees her agency helping to create a world where fashion imagery will actually reflect real society. She hopes to become the champion for traditionally "unacceptable" features in modeling, such as acne scars, natural hair, or thighs that actually touch.

Kaptownwala spoke with Dazed Magazine about Lorde Inc, airing her frustrations with the industry, saying, "People’s perception of race is completely skewed... All models are expected to adhere to a prototype, but this denies models of colour the ability to participate." Perhaps by simply providing alternative options and demonstrating that beauty is not strictly limited to mass-manufactured, size zero blondes, Kaptownwala and Lorde Inc can, if not change the industry, dramatically broaden its horizons.

Images: LordeInc/Instagram (2)