Redefining identities in fashion | Vogue India

In a multicultural country with no fixed features, mutable lifestyles, foods, fashion or dress, casting

In a multicultural country with no fixed features, mutable lifestyles, foods, fashion or dress, casting directors play a crucial role in accurately mirroring society. “My sister’s round face, my Maharashtrian neighbour’s smile, my school bus driver’s dark chocolate skin, my art teacher’s long, wavy hair—they all form different parts of India and my idea of Indian beauty,” he explains. What instructs the co-founder and stylist’s eye for a fresh face is a new lens on beauty that tips the scales of exclusivity. Take, for example, his chance bump-in with newly-minted model Brijesh. “I was walking to Smita’s apartment one afternoon and I saw Brijesh moving furniture in the same building. He immediately struck me as a model—long hair, brown skin and a very strong bone structure,” says Nikhil about a chance sighting on his daily walk to work. “We called him over after work and asked him how he felt about modelling.” As a migrant far from his farming roots in Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh, this was a stranger-than-fiction proposition from the pair. After consulting with his brother, Brijesh said yes. Shortly after , he landed a modelling gig for fragrance giant Byredo’s newest campaign. And now he’s signed on with Supa Model Management. Like a proud mentor, watching his protégé take flight, Nikhil tells me, “Brijesh leaves for London soon. He’s going to make international waves.” 

“My sister’s round face, my Maharashtrian neighbour’s smile, my school bus driver’s dark chocolate skin, my art teacher’s long, wavy hair—they all form different parts of India and my idea of Indian beauty”—Nikhil D, co-founder, Feat. Artists

Like the rest of the world in strict lockdown, Riya’s scouting was a result of hours spent scrolling Instagram. “Riya was a stand-in model for my friend’s label in Puducherry. She is the kind of model you’d see in a Chloé show, but also in a bridal campaign for Manish Malhotra. Gawky, slender and with big eyes, she reminds me of Twiggy from the ’60s.” Around the world, as supermodels with star-like qualities were born, in India the movement gave us the lithe, dusky beauties Lakshmi Menon, Madhu Sapre and Ujjwala Raut. “You don’t see that kind of beauty around anymore,” Nikhil reflects. “I saw Megha five times at a bar in Bandra before I had the courage to talk to her. One night, I found a friend speaking to her and saw it as my opportunity. She was a bit hesitant—as an investment consultant, she never imagined modelling as a valid career path.”

https://www.vogue.in/fashion/content/redefining-identities-in-fashion-with-feat-artists