Davin "Reality" Luke hits the JK Models launch party
A long time ago, when “tighty whities” were the norm, I had a dream.
I had a dream that one day I would have the opportunity to become a Calvin Klein underwear model and awe the world by the way I could sell 100 percent cotton on the back cover of GQ by flexing my right butt cheek. Unfortunately, my hopes and aspirations were crushed when I looked at the picture on a package of briefs; I saw the god-like form of someone with glistening man breasts that could dilate a woman’s pupils faster than looking directly into a Mag-Lite.
How can any human possibly look or maintain the aesthetic beauty of a model? Modeling is an industry that forces people to fit an ideal physical appearance that isn’t necessarily sustainable to their health.
But there is hope.
JK Models, recently launched at the Blushing Boutique by former model Jennifer Koning, understands the sacrifice required to maintain a size “0” and the consequences of failing to do so during her career. With her new venture, she is going against the grain of her industry peers to celebrate all forms of beauty.
The Vancouver modeling agency eliminates the height, weight and shape restrictions that are the pillars of most modeling agencies and instead emphasizes other facets that she deems much more critical and rare:
3) Friendliness / approachability
Check 1. Check 2. Check 3. Brothers and sisters, I am well on my way to knocking Matthew McConaughey off that marble pedestal and stepping onto the pages of the Outdoor Rain Jacket section of the Sears Catalogue.
Before everyone does cartwheels in the park and pops champagne bottles to celebrate a win for the good guys, one must also understand the challenges that go with working against a stubborn fashion industry that still makes clothes that only fit the No Parking signpost at the front of my building. Jennifer indicated that by following her current approach, it requires her to be more creative with her marketing.
An important aspect is to build strong relationships with socially responsible and sustainable companies. She emphasizes advertising through word of mouth and working with designers who use recycled clothing and environmentally friendly fabrics, such as bamboo, silk, and hemp. Furthermore, the goal of her agency is to diversify and educate the fashion industry to target a larger potential customer base by appealing to regular people that don’t necessarily look like runway models.
Nevertheless, you can’t convince anyone to do anything without setting an example yourself. An important cause that Jennifer and her agency supports is The Looking Glass Foundation, a Burnaby-based organization founded by Dolores Elliott in 2002 to support the treatment of adolescents with eating disorders. After seven years of fundraising, the foundation is finally able to open Canada’s first treatment centre. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of clothing during the JK Models launch party was donated to this worthy cause.
Several of the models throughout the evening mentioned, “[Jennifer Koning] has given me an opportunity to do something that I normally would never have thought possible given my [age/height/shape]”.
I left the agency’s launch party after a night of exquisite “tea room”-style fashion shows of colourful summer dresses by Shelley Klassen, food, wine, and… yes, I know you’re all waiting for it… gawking at beautiful women that are out of my league—but not out of my area code.
When there is a will, there is a way. That is why I felt good that someone out there is modeling by example, not merely by talk.
JK Models hosted its grand opening launch party at Blushing Boutique downtown at 579 Richard St.
Guests at the event ate, drank and tried on dresses at Blushing Boutique before the fashion show. (See if you can pick out Granville guest blogger Chris Walts and itinerant local enviro blogger/tweep Raul "hummingbird604" Pacheco.)
Looking Glass Foundation treasurer Debbie Slattery (left) and cofounder/vice president Delores Elliot (right) with Jennifer Koning, director of JK Models (centre).
Meghan Marshall and Kelsey Vicars Shelley Klassen's designs.
Petit models Siri Williams and Erin Kanygin also model dresses by Shelley Klassen.