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Last Updated: Monday, 21 July, 2003, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
The hunt for India's Claudia Schiffer
By Nyay Bhushan
BBC, Delhi

Models at India's Fashion Week in Bombay
India's top models are taking part in India's fashion week
The recent launch of Indian franchises of world renowned agencies like Elite Model Management and Metropolitan Models, looks set to change the modelling scene in India.

Until now, Indian models have worked out their own deals and assignments because, unlike in the West, there have been few professional local agencies to manage their careers.

Now, as well as model management, Elite has also opened a modelling school in Delhi.

Life skills

I think India has potential and we may produce a Naomi Campbell or Claudia Schiffer or even beyond that
Rajan Madhu, Metropolitan Models India
The first batch of 18 students have just graduated from a two-month course in a chic facility in an upmarket south Delhi neighbourhood.

The students spent 100 hours learning various facets of modelling and personality development.

The grooming course costs 60,000 rupees ($1,297).

"On the face of it, this may sound expensive but it only works out at 600 rupees ($13) per hour," said Elite India's Director and CEO Sushma Puri.

"We have seen the students come out of the programme visibly different."

Elite represents more than 750 models in 48 countries with 12 models signed up by Elite India.

In addition to getting the models local assignments, Elite also hope to introduce Indian faces to the world.

One of the graduates, Lalit Khurana, recently completed an assignment for a German clothing brand.

Search for a star

But one fashion photographer said modelling agencies should go out and find the real talent who may not go to a grooming school.

Former Miss India, Nafisa Joseph, has her make-up done
The Indian modelling scene is getting a makeover
"They should not wait for the models to come to the school but go out and find the real talent," said Tarun Khiwal.

"What these foreign modelling agencies can also do to survive in India is to offer international models to the Indian industry because we don't have easy access to the top models in Paris or New York."

Meanwhile, Metropolitan Models, who discovered Claudia Schiffer, have launched a model hunt contest in India that starts from September.

Indian nominees will compete at the world finals scheduled in South Africa in November.

"I think India has potential and we may produce a Naomi Campbell or Claudia Schiffer or even beyond that," said Rajan Madhu, managing director of Metropolitan Models India.

In pictures: India's Fashion Week
21 Jul 03  |  Photo Gallery
India fashion 'goes vegetarian'
11 May 02  |  South Asia
Indian fashion takes hold
19 Feb 02  |  Business

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