She’s the POWER in EMPOWERMENT x Joan Kelley Walker

She’s the POWER in EMPOWERMENT x Joan Kelley Walker



You have described your current lifestyle as very different from your childhood in small-town Saskatchewan, is there anything you’ve brought with you from Wilcox— maybe a family heirloom or sentimental object that reminds you of your roots, or is important to you today?

I’m so glad you asked that and you’re going to make me cry here.  I don’t think it’s really an object, I think it’s the people, the love, and the values that you bring from childhood. My dad passed recently, which was really devastating, but I’m just so thankful for what he’s instilled in us and for having that small-town love of community and love and understanding of people. When you’re in a small town, you are kind of forced to get to know people and get along with people that live in a big city—you might live in the same neighbourhood as them, but you really don’t have that much in common. So, I think with my roots, I have a way to really see people for who they are, and it was always taught to me to not have judgment and to just accept people, and that’s the thing that I’m most thankful for.

As a Toronto fashion icon and an outspoken philanthropist, do you feel a designer’s messaging and community impact plays a role in your opinion of the brand?

I think the thing that speaks the loudest first of all, is the fashion, the style, the design, and the creative process that goes into that. That’s what catches your eye—but I think the sustainability comes from all the rest of it. How do you use that platform to not just benefit yourself but to benefit your community, benefit your patrons, your customers, and to benefit the world? So, I think being a fashion icon is a huge platform to start from and I take that responsibility very seriously. For me, it’s fashion and compassion, and I always want to have the two married together. For me, that’s the most important thing is to be able to give back through this incredible spotlight that I’ve found myself under.

Before the show, I was still doing all that work, but it was done in a very private way. Now I feel like I do have a responsibility to get out there and help the world. With privilege comes great responsibility and I want to do as much good as I can in the world and I want to create that ripple effect and hopefully, that will inspire other people too.

Excerpt from article in Dauphine Magazine.

By Kris Lunardo

Interviewed by // Andreia McLean
Photography // Michael Kai Young
Fashion Director // Shaun Marq
Stylist // Sonia Torsan
Hair // Cassandra J
Makeup // Toronto Fashion Academy