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“He is changing the face of fashion”

When Dove beauty products launched its worldwide advertising campaign using real models of all shapes, sizes, colour and ages, it knocked the fashion world on its ear. These were not the cookie-cutter, slim, size four, under-23-years-old models the fashion world has been foisting on us since time began.
Ottawa’s Ben Barry, founder of Ben Barry Agency Inc., could rightfully pat himself on the back and say with great pride, “Mission accomplished.”
Since Ben began his agency 10 years before, he had constantly been lobbying the top fashion magazines, fashion houses and advertising agencies in Toronto, New York, Paris and London. He believed with a passion that models should look just like consumers. The models he signed for his agency reflected just that.
In his book Fashioning Reality, he describes the meetings and rejections he had during those 10 years. Occasionally he would convince one fashion magazine to use one of his “real” models.
In 2004 his big breakthrough came when Dove shocked the fashion and advertising world by launching a major TV and magazine campaign in Europe, and later across North America, using several of Ben’s “real” models.
Dick, I was thrilled when Dove introduced the campaign for real beauty and selected some of my models. This was the first time a brand made a genuine and comprehensive commitment to representing women who looked like their consumers. Finally a brand was listening to the local case studies of companies with whom I had worked.”
It had been a long, hard 10-year struggle for the now 24-year-old Ben Barry. Yes, I said now 24-year-old. You see, Ben Barry began his modelling agency at age 14 in the basement of his family home in Ottawa. Between classes he would sign up models and search for modelling jobs for them. Little wonder that Oprah Winfrey had him as a guest on her program.
Twenty-four-year-old Ben Barry is a dynamic young Canadian who makes us realize just how dynamic the youth of Canada is.

Next week, read about the Mountie who fights crime with books.

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Book: Fashioning Reality. A new Generation of Entrepreneurship. Key Porter Books



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