The Emerging Talent of Boon Models
It’s not every day you meet someone who can say that they have set up and lucratively maintained three successful modeling agencies across the US in less than 7 years. The fashion business is, after all, portrayed as a cruel mistress, rife with rejection and disappointment. But this is definitely not the case for Kelvin Boon, who has channelled all the supposed risks associated with the modeling industry, and turned them into the burgeoning success that is Boon Models (now based in New York, Washington DC and Tampa, Florida).
Since the company’s creation in 2008, Kelvin Boon has been eager to set the agency apart from its competitors with an original approach, specifically focussed on what it means to be a successful model in the twenty-first century. The agency began its life as ‘Fusion Models’ in a humble office in DC, where engineer / innovator Boon decided to make the brave jump into the industry when he realized that he had a flare for talent management, combined with an in-depth knowledge of fashion photography. Subsequently, when it turned out that Boon and his team’s dedicated work ethic and unique, nurturing management skills saw their boundaries spreading outside of the state at a dramatic rate, he decided to rebrand the agency ‘Boon Models’ in 2013 and set about quickly opening offices in New York and Tampa.
So what is it exactly that makes Boon Models so exceptional, setting them ahead of other emerging modeling agencies in New York, Tampa and Washington DC? Alongside their proven track record of cultivating and educating new talent, I would have to say that it is their noticeable awareness of what it means to be a model in the modern day world. Gone are the days of simply showing up for castings and taking part in catwalk shows and photoshoots: The ‘Twenty-First Century Model’ is mindful of her own personal brand and strategically uses it to her advantage. This is largely subjugated by the meteoric strength of social media, which all models (and creatives) are expected to possess in this day and age.
It goes without saying that social media has established itself as the driving force behind the fashion industry in recent years, displaying endless possibilities in terms of marketing and public relations worldwide. Never before was there a time when models would be allowed to tweet backstage at exclusive designer shows or Instagram ‘sneak peek’ photographs of fittings. The designers would never have allowed such an infringement on their exclusivity to take place. This was until they took a momentary step back and began to realize that world famous younger models such as Cara Delevingne and Kendall Jenner have established millions upon millions of followers on their social media platforms from all across the globe. Followers that, although for the most part belong to the younger generation, will one day be future customers. Furthermore, they are young, impressionable followers who are now being given an early – not to mention free – education in fashion by their role models. Consequently, it has been widely recognized that a successful model’s influence now holds the same power as that of a mainstream celebrity, which is why self-branding is considered so explicitly important. Step forward Kelvin Boon, whose business acumen and ingenuity meant he was on to this a long time ago.
From the word go, back in 2008, Kelvin Boon made a promise to potential clients that his agency would act as more than just a voice on the end of the telephone. His aim from the outset was to build a network of support that would nurture modeling talent all the way through their entire career. Henceforth, Boon made it his mission to develop coaching and mentoring programs so that potential models could feel that they have a basis to explore and develop their own signature brand of model. This is displayed most prominently in the Boon Models ‘community’, which offers his clients a sanctuary to seek out useful tips, share their worries and concerns or simply take a closer look at the distinguishing factors between the different career paths that are open to them. This sense of security is further underlined by Boon having no qualms about declaring that he will never allow his models to do nude or obscene shoots, and even makes a point that all of them are chaperoned for their own safety. This safety stretches not only to the models’ physical and mental wellbeing, but also to the longevity of their careers, which evidently maintain a sense of integrity.
When you take a look at the Boon Models roster, it is instantly clear that Boon’s philosophy of self-development has spurned a set of 52 models (spread across the 3 branches) each encapsulating their own distinct class of beauty and individuality. This is undoubtedly the reason why their portfolios stretch all the way from editorials in the pages Vogue all the way through to walking the runways of Fashion weeks across the world. New York Fashion Week in particular signifies a crowning beacon that Boon is particularly proud of, especially considering that the cutthroat nature of the city doesn’t make it easy to succeed there. 2014 saw an unprecedented success for Boon Models at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week with many of their models taking to the catwalks and more in the line up for 2015. The reason for this is most likely centered on the fact that Boon has not tried to shape his models into a typical ‘agency mould’. Instead he has allowed each of them to flourish in their own organic way. Therefore, a considerable amount of Boon’s models do not possess a generic conventional look, but instead display the exact sort of individual flare that designers these days are seeking out for their most high profile shows.
So what does the future hold for Boon Models? After seeing his business grow from strength to strength, Kelvin Boon is now setting his sights across the Atlantic ocean where he will be setting up an agency in Paris in the summer of 2015. This is a bold move without a doubt, but seeing as Boon is taking with him his unique nurturing philosophy that corresponds so well with the state of the modeling industry today, we have no doubt that he will see the fruits of his labor take the same successful path as his previous endeavours.