“Aren’t you something!” (as told to Ben Barry) — Oprah Winfrey
Hailed as a “hero to real women everywhere” by the Boston Globe, Dr. Barry is dedicated to creating an inclusive fashion industry. At just 14 years old, he helped a friend who was told she was “too big to be a model” by sending her pictures to a magazine editor. The editor called him back, hired his friend, and with that one phone call, he launched his modelling agency. Today, Dr. Barry serves as CEO of the Toronto-based Ben Barry Agency. His company has become the world leader in scouting and sourcing models of all sizes, ages, heights, backgrounds and abilities for global fashion and beauty brands.
Dr. Barry is an Assistant Professor of Equity, Inclusivity and Diversity in the School of Fashion at Ryerson University. His research explores cross-cultural consumer attitudes towards fashion communications and institutional barriers that prevent and facilitate the inclusion of diversity in fashion marketing. He frequently acts as an expert in the media, having been featured in the Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times and on CNN and Oprah, among others. In addition, Dr. Barry has served as a Special Advisor to the Government of Quebec where he helped create North America’s first charter to encourage healthy and diverse models in advertising. He is the first male winner of the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case for advancing the equality of girls and women in Canada.
Dr. Barry is the author of bestseller Fashioning Reality: A New Generation of Entrepreneurship and is writing Refashioning Models: The Business Case for Diversity in Fashion. His feature in Elle Canada, “New Business Model: Are Fashion Companies Missing Out on the Bottom Line When They Only Use One Kind of Model,” received the most reader feedback in the magazine’s history. Dr. Barry holds a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies from the University of Toronto and a Master’s in Innovation, Strategy and Organization as well as a PhD in Marketing from Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.