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INDIRA effect

Photographs by Jens Ingvarsson
Styled by Heathermary Jackson

Having been scouted working in a shop and making her catwalk debut for Dior in 2019, New Yorker Indira Scott’s rise has been fast — and shows no signs of stopping. Joanna Taylor talks to her about her activism, how the pandemic has made her look at life differently and the real change she is starting to see in fashion

Despite her success, Indira Scott is yet to fully take in being the fashion industry’s model of the moment. ‘Sometimes I feel like this is a trick question,’ she tells me from her apartment in New York when I ask about her career highlights to date. ‘Truly, every day something magical happens. I’m just so happy to be here and a part of it all.’

Alexander McQueen trench coat, £2,890; shoes, £590; antique silver and gold punk cuff, £490

Which is a stroke of luck because since being scouted working at Reformation and her catwalk debut at Dior’s Resort 2019 show, the phone has been ringing off the hook, securing her gigs with Jacquemus, Opening Ceremony and Ralph Lauren.

Needless to say, that first Dior show was a seminal moment for the 23-year-old who not only found her calling but garnered huge satisfaction from walking down the catwalk sporting the box braids she was once bullied for at school. ‘Modelling is a fantasy for every girl but I never thought I’d be accepted as one.’

Dior shorts, £910; jacket, £1,600; shirt, £1,250.Cartier Cactus de Cartier earrings, £11, 300. Boots and socks, stylist’s own

One look at Scott’s Instagram account and it’s clear why brands and designers are tripping over themselves to work with her. Yes, she has all of the magnetic, ethereal beauty of a supermodel, but it’s the New Yorker’s sunny disposition that has the contracts and devoted followers piling up. A devout spiritualist, Scott ‘fell in love’ with the practice around five years ago. With a little help from yoga and crystals, the model decided to ‘make a choice to actively try to become happy and fulfilled instead of staying stagnant’, which seems to have done the trick.

Gucci jacket, £2,450; shirt, £700

A staunch environmental activist and self-professed lover of nature, Scott says she’ll ‘do anything in my power to protect it’ and cites her grandmother Carole as one of her biggest inspirations. ‘[She] was a huge hippie. Always reinforcing “reduce, reuse, recycle”. She took us on hikes to make sure we valued the purpose of nature.’

“Modelling is a fantasy for every girl but I never thought I’d be accepted as one.”

Although the catwalk is closed for now, Scott has still been hard at work, appearing in Covid-safe, in-person shoots (like this one), focusing on her writing and playing a variety of instruments. And while saddened by the pandemic, it doesn’t unsettle her. ‘Living in the pandemic of course has its ups and downs, but I’ve always been a present person and accepting of change.’ As you’d expect from a runway model, she confides that ‘chaos is nothing new’.

Isabel Marant corset top, £415; T-shirt, £140. Giorgio Armani trousers, £1,050. Cartier La Panthère de Cartier ring, £9,400; Juste un Clou bracelet, POA.

Although her career is still in its infancy, Scott is certain she has seen a sea change in the fashion world already. ‘The industry has become more inclusive of everyday people. Not because traditionalists in the fashion industry wanted to, but because they had no choice.’ Citing social media as a key component, she notes that ‘it’s almost impossible to be unethical without getting exposed and receiving a whirlwind of international backlash’.

Scott has faith that the industry will continue to evolve into a more diverse, sustainable and inclusive space. ‘There are still so many improvements to be made, but thankfully now we know we can count on the force of the people to make sure it happens.’

Balenciaga hoodie, £495

Model: Indira Scott at DNA Models.
Casting by Nick Forbes Watson.
Hair by Rutger at The Wall Group using Bumble & Bumble.
by Yuki Hayashi at The Wall Group using RMK.
Photographer’s assistants: Nate De Carlo and Pierre Crosby. Stylist’s assistants: Ana Tess and Joel Parada