Meet an Agency representing a truly diverse complement of models
Inclusive fashion is about more than the clothes themselves - true diversity of models is essential so everyone can 'see themselves' in fashion. We were delighted to sit down with Krissy O'Sullivan, Director of As We Are Agency, a truly inclusive agency that she describes as, "A community, a family, and certainly more than just a modelling agency."
Image: Krissy O'Sullivan - Director of As We Are Agency
Tell us a little about yourself - what was your journey into the inclusive fashion space?
Ending up in the fashion industry was an absolute fluke - and I'm not mad about it. I was at a place in my life where I had come out of a long-term relationship, I was burnt out from my career, and my confidence was at an all-time low. I had completely lost my identity and had to figure out a way to rebuild...so I turned to fashion. I have always loved clothes and exploring my own style, but I spent a long time really feeling like I didn't have a place in the industry. I have been so incredibly lucky to meet many people along the way who genuinely share the same mindset as me. They have inspired me to push forward to end up where I am today.
What drove you to create As We Are Agency? What is your ethos as an agency?
After working as both a freelance and signed model for a few years, I began to realise that if I wanted to create change, I had to create something new. When certain practices and ways of thinking are so deeply embedded, it is very hard to form long-term change as an individual. Creating the agency and being able to directly converse with brands and creatives, as well as manage models coming into the industry allowed me the opportunity to navigate these practices and build a community.
That's exactly what As We Are is: a community, a family, and certainly more than just a modelling agency. Every decision is made with intention. Our models are always encouraged to work with brands, designers and creatives who genuinely align with who they are as human beings. We celebrate our models for who they are and work alongside them to create a journey that allows them to feel safe and supported.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I love being at the forefront of positive change. Having the power to create a new way of doing things in an industry so deeply rooted in its ways is incredible. Being able to learn from others, while also educating others and seeing tangible, genuine change is so wonderfully rewarding. I am nothing short of proud of the fact that I get to support my models through their journey and that I am lucky enough to be a part of their growth and success.
What do you think are the greatest barriers to inclusivity in the fashion and/ or modelling industry?
In terms of inclusivity within the industry, I believe we still have such a long way to go. There is still a substantial lack of education and understanding around different body types, genders, religious beliefs, sexual preference, and the use of language and how models are showcased within campaigns. I do believe some brands and designers are still resistant to change because they believe it's "too hard" or "doesn't align with their branding."
I would absolutely beg to differ.
I think until designers, marketing agencies, creatives and model agents can learn how to genuinely be inclusive and respectful, without being tokenistic, I still believe we will have a lot of work to do.
What advice do you want to give to the fashion industry (designers/ stylists/ or media publications) on how they can be more inclusive?
Ask questions. Educate yourself. Receive feedback. If a designer / stylist / media publication is willing and open to seeing things from a different point of view, inclusive practices will be more achievable. It's a complete change of mindset. It takes meaningful and open conversation and a willingness to learn from others.
What advice would you give to people wanting to give modelling a go, but who might think you have to look a certain way, or have a particular body type?
It's important to understand your own style and what you enjoy. Find brands and people within the industry who align with you and your style. I would also encourage you to give everything a go and for you to not be afraid of putting yourself out there.
With the way the industry is changing, there is so much opportunity for everyone. It's also important to understand that it is hard work and that it takes time. If you allow yourself the space to take the journey not only as a potential model, but as a human being, you will find your tribe of people and having learnt from experience, they will 100% support you.
Image: As We Are models on a recent shoot, features pieces from Statement Robes.