Dr. Ben Barry | About Me
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At age fourteen, I helped my friend who was told she was “too big” to model by sending her pictures to a fashion magazine. When the magazine hired my friend, I become her agent and launched a modeling agency. The Ben Barry Agency became the first modeling agency in the world dedicated to promoting models of diverse shapes, ages, backgrounds and abilities. My models worked for international fashion and beauty brands, including Vogue, Macy’s and Dove.

Motivated by my entrepreneurial experiences, I decided to explore diversity in fashion at university. I obtained a Bachelor’s degree (with honours) in Women’s Studies from the University of Toronto as well as a Master’s in Innovation and Strategy and PhD in Management from Judge Business School at Cambridge University. For my PhD thesis, I investigated how diverse models in fashion advertisements influence the body image and purchase behaviours of women.

In 2012, I was appointed Assistant Professor of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the School of Fashion at Ryerson University, and in 2015 I was awarded early tenure and promoted to Associate Professor. I recently co-lead the redevelopment of Ryerson’s first-year fashion program to integrate diversity into the core courses. I am also cross-appointed to the graduate programs in Communications and Culture and Environmental Applied Science and Management at Ryerson University as well as serve as a Visiting Scholar at Parsons The New School for Design, New School University in New York City.

My research explores gender, diversity and fashion consumption with the goal of advancing for diversity in the fashion industry. I have published my work in academic journals as well as in popular media. I am currently undertaking a project, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, which examines how men use fashion to deconstruct and re-imagine their gendered identities. Finding will be shared my upcoming book, Refashioning Masculinity: Men’s Fashion Consumption in the Digital Age (Bloomsbury).

The press often asks me to share my research; I have been interviewed on Oprah and CTV National News as well as in The Globe and Mail, The Guardian and Boston Globe. I have consulted with the Quebec Government and the UK Government on the development on body image policies and programs. In recognition of my efforts to create a diverse fashion industry, I was honoured as the first male receipt of the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Person’s Case for advancing the equality of girls and women in Canada.

I live in Toronto with my fiancé Daniel.