EDITORIAL: Camden’s Model Brothers Jaleel & Zion For D.M. Fashion Book
Zion (left) and Jaleel (right).
NEW JERSEY — Rising models Jaleel and Zion were photographed by photographer Troy Pearson for an editorial exclusively for D.M. Fashion Book. The shoot was styled by me (Donovan) and I also served as creative director. I chose to outfit the 20 and 21-year-old rising models in boxer brief by Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, as well as distressed denim jeans by KDNK.
“The shoot was very special to me because the two brothers are my biological little cousins and this was also the very first time that I cast models from my hometown (Camden, New Jersey) to shoot an editorial for my site,” says Donovan.
As we drove to LKY Studios in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia, I was a bit nervous and didn’t know what to expect because this was Jaleel and Zion‘s first photoshoot and I didn’t know if they were going to be able to pose right or even be comfortable showing their bodies on camera.
Once we entered the studio, we were greeted by the photographer (Troy) and the models had a look on their faces that expressed how happy they were to be doing their first shoot. Once settled in, I began to unpack my suitcase, to go over which color underwear and pair of jeans each model would wear.
After changing into his red and black striped Calvin Klein undies and shining his tall, slim body with Palmer’s Cocoa Butter lotion, Jaleel stepped in front of the white screen for his pictures. The 6’4″ model struck various poses as if he were used to being photographed. Jaleel‘s tall, thin body, facial structure, cheekbones, and full hair is what makes him stand out.
Zion then joined his little brother for a few group shots before doing his solo pictures. Together, the duo proved that they are ready to be the face of ad campaigns for luxury houses including Louis Vuitton, Balmain, Gucci, Dior, and Givenchy. They will also be great as runway models because Jaleel has the height and Zion has an athletic physique.
After wrapping up the group shots and covering his body in baby oil, it was time for Zion‘s first solo shots. He danced his way into the camera, striking a few poses in Calvin Klein undies, showing off his toned medium built body. Right before the shoot, I asked Zion was he scared. He replied, “for what? I always wanted to model“. His long dreads, athletic body, nose, and full lips are some of Zion‘s stand out features.
This shoot was over a year in the making. I first asked Jaleel if he would be interested in shooting an editorial for my website in 2019 and from the very start, he was down for it. Just seeing how tall he got as we were growing up, I knew one of two things would be his call: basketball or modeling. He played basketball in high school but didn’t take it seriously. So when the modeling opportunity presented itself, I made sure that he took full advantage. This is just the beginning, and we will have a long way to go but we will get there through hard work, dedication, and most importantly faith in God.
“It was very important for me to cast models of color for this shoot. In 2020, I think the fashion industry still lacks diversity,” writes Donovan. Some luxury houses only use a few Black models out of 50 or 60 looks. “It is called a ‘racist act‘ when just a few or no models of color are in houses runway shows or advertisements, adds Donovan.
I don’t like it, I say, “where is or where are the other Black models“?
It doesn’t matter what color you are, if you’ve got the right talent, body, and beauty, you should be there having the opportunity to do the job.
With a face and body like his, Zion is ready to take the fashion world by storm.
I have a major platform and I will use my voice to fight for diversity in fashion and to bring change. D.M. Fashion Book will extend our vision, and inject some new, creative, youthful energy into our site. Once or twice a month, we will shoot an editorial with models.
I am opening up the doors for people who look like me and come from where I came from. I will also break new barriers in the fashion industry.
Jaleel’s looks and height is the exact reasons why brands need him in their campaigns.
Designers copy off our culture all the time, and then you don’t see a lot of people who look anything like us in ad campaigns, on billboards, working at magazines and fashion houses, or sitting in the front row at shows.
Photos Credit: Troy Pearson