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The latest victory in the struggle for diversity comes from 26-year-old Canadian Nafisa Kaptownwala, who has created the world’s first completely non-White modeling agency called Lorde Inc.

Kaptownwala and a friend started Lorde in London last year and the agency is quickly emerging as one solution to the industry’s White-washed problems. The idea for a non-White agency came to Kaptownwala after she started working in fashion and saw how few models of color there were. The 60 models her agency represents span the spectrum of races, ethnicities, and cultures.

Kaptownwala refused to let her lack of experience in modeling stop her, and it seems the gamble has paid off. In the span of one short year, Lorde is taking the industry by storm, getting their models features in top magazines like Dazed and i-D, and major campaigns for Adidas.

In a time when models still have to deal with discrimination – not only from casting agents, but from makeup artists too – it’s understandable that Kaptownwala is still realistic about diversity in the industry.

She told The Guardian:

“There’s still not a massive demand because this is still a radical idea and people in fashion are not really ready for it. How does that make me feel? In general I think, as a person of colour, you internalise. Creating this agency is a way to channel those feelings.”

While there have been some victories for women of color, including Rihanna being Dior’s first Black campaign star, the industry is nowhere near reflective of the diversity of those who love it.

“Things are changing but in a minimal way. But there were more models of colour on the catwalk in the ’90s than there are now. It kind of goes in cycles,” she said.

As of now, Kaptownwala primarily works within a niche market thanks to the prevalence and power of White faces. However, the popularity of her agency might just be proof that times are a-changing.

SOURCE: The Guardian | PHOTO CREDIT: Instagram

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