'Designers consider us as hangers'

Candid talk
Last Updated 11 August 2015, 18:33 IST

Having spent 27 years as a model in the Indian fashion world, Noyonika Chatterjee stands out in the crowd in her own way. She recently walked the ramp for various designers during the India Couture Week.

“Honestly, it hasn’t been much of a struggle for me. If I go back to where I started, I still remember that I never really wanted to be a model. Since my husband is also a model, I think things were always easier for me.”She contradicts the popular perception about modelling as a career. In all these years, never have we seen her getting into any controversies or even mainstream media fame.

     Despite all the drawbacks and the ‘dark side’ of the fashion world, Chatterjee has been able to keep it stable and subtle.

“Maybe this is because I have never been that ambitious. I have always been happy with what I am doing and that’s probably why I have survived in the most unpredictable industry.”

But we don’t call her a supermodel. Neither do we see her having any big endorsements, or being the ‘face’ of a particular brand.

     One finds it shocking yet true as to how Chatterjee, who has almost three decades of experience, is void of all the name and fame, which she truly deserves to have.
“Modelling is not as professional as it should be in India,” she says.

     “I don’t see anything structured. Models are merely considered to be dispensable. No one is looking after us. Designers consider us as hangers. Random scheduling and cancellation of the shows happen and never are we ever compensated for the same.”
“That’s why,” she continues, “I have opted out of fashion shows, and restricted
myself to couture week only.”

She expresses her angst of being a model in India, which is comparatively a much respected profession in the West. She points out that here, we continuously have Bollywood showstoppers for all major fashion weeks.

     Then there is Bollywood doing brand endorsements and some famed celebrity faces on the covers of popular fashion magazines.“To be very frank, it is very irritating to have Bollywood showstoppers and celebrity faces everywhere in the fashion industry. Designers opt for Bollywood showstoppers for a better sale of their collection. So we cannot blame them here. It is mainly because of our audiences, that modelling as a career suffers more,” she tells Metrolife.

While models of the West, like Cara Delevingne, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and others have become much more than supermodels by endorsing brands and getting to be the showstoppers of major fashion shows, models in India lack the sufficient opportunity to come into the limelight.

Chatterjee adds, “There are a very few of us who enjoy this job. Earning here is much easier than any other job, and that’s why most of us continue to be in this profession.”
However, she questions, “What does one look for in a model here? For catalogues and look-books you want us, but for magazine covers, you run after celebrities and sports
personalities.” Then why does she continue to be a part of this profession. She expresses her desire to be a fashion designer, yet doesn’t pursue it.

“I am in fashion because I love this industry, and I’m really worried about its present condition. I don’t know how much I can, but I really want to do something around it. In the end, everything works on demand and supply. If people, as well as the designers understand our motive of being a model, I think things can get better for us soon,” she signs off on a hopeful note.

(Published 11 August 2015, 15:46 IST)

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