Lorde Incestablished in May 2014 is the first of its kind, an agency comprised entirely of models of color. Founder Nafisa Kaptownwala, a 26-year-old art history graduate set up Lorde in London despite no experience with a friend after recognizing the lack of diversity in the fashion world. Since then Kaptownwala and Lorde, have worked with magazines like Dazed & Confused, i-D, and streetwear brands like Cassette Playa.

Kaptownwala credits the internet and selfie culture with shifting paradigms of what is beautiful. Kaptownwala told the Guardian, “People are posing in their own ways, creating their own photo shoots. It redefines beauty, opens things up and allows people to say ‘I want to be part of this.’"

However, both she and Lorde have a ways to go as the industry is still dominated by primarily white faces. Kaptownwala and her agency have to work harder than a "normal" booker would at a "regular" agency (read: one staffed by predominantly caucasian models.)


They work with everyone and we are fulfilling a niche. The beauty standards are that the European is the epitome of what’s marketable, and not just to European consumers. I have spoken to magazines in Japan who only use Japanese and European models.”

Cover: Lorde, Inc.


facts about Diversity in fashion:

 Apple Model Managament L.A. is the first trans-only modeling agency.

 Pop star Rihanna became the first black woman to front a Dior campaign in May of 2014.

 Also in 2014, only 119 of 611 covers of major fashion magazines featured models of color. 78% of models walking in last year’s New York Fashion Week were white according to Jezebel. Of those shows (260 in total) only three featured African-American models.

 In 2013, the Diversity Coalition (formed by Bethann Hardison, Chanel Iman, and Naomi Campbell) called out major fashion houses on their racism and lack of equal representation. However, their wording is slightly problematic as it sets Asian models apart from other models of color. Asian models do count as racial diversity, you guys.