By Georgia Hammerson
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the best part of two weeks, you would have got the memo; or seen the Instagram post (boasting an ever growing 9625 ❤ and thousands of comments) that the almighty have fallen. Well, fallen that is from the Fashion realms of Paris – and the almighty being a few now (thanks to Scully) mentionable by name. Names that have had a great deal of power and abused all of it. They have fallen to embolden others, models in particular to stand back up in force – and no doubt in cute Louboutin heels.
Who is this man behind the Instagram account and a clad of girls now ready and willing to tell their stories? With brazen moves such as this one why are you and I just discovering him now? What is he about and what is his story? Every martyr has one.
Getting the low down on this self proclaimed model spokesman took a decent amount of digging around the world wide web, sifting through content, countless websites and some highly recommended video viewings.
We’ve ultimately done the hard yards so you don’t have to, here’s a brief 101 on Fashions provocateur, a model saviour if you will: James Scully.
“I can only assume I was born with it. But when I got a little older, I always looked up to my sister, Jean, who was very interested in clothes. She would occasionally have my aunt sew her an outfit that she saw on the cover of Cosmopolitan. I think those [Francesco] Scavullo covers and her copies of those outfits were my first real exposure to what I thought a glamourous person was.” Scully recounts a childhood self to James Lin of Buzzfeed in 2013, a fantasy and feeling he certainly emulated all the way from an old Irish factory town. Fast forward a decade or so and fate was with Scully on his first day of college, in the shape of a bulletin board requiring fashion show dressers – unbeknown to him at the time the show was the first Haute Couture collection of the dazzling Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel and the catalyst of his career. Eventually casting the glamorous of the glam squad Supermodels for an endless array of shows – Gucci and Prada being no exception.
In fear of this becoming your typical “read it before bio”, lets just say on his way to the top he donned titles “Merchandise Manager Director” and “PR Show Producer” to arrive at the big table of Harper’s Bazaar America as their Bookings Editor in 1999.
As the 80’s became the 90’s and the 90’s became the early 2000’s Scully noticed subtle changes within the Industry he disagreed with; power shifts, model discrimination against ethnicity, age, size and a general lack of female empowerment. Upon completion of his chapter at Harper’s Bazaar he took a break from the Fashion game –only to be recruited back to the big smoke of New York City two years later by none other than Tom Ford. This time around the block, making no mistake in becoming a solo Casting Director while getting behind the CFDA and the British Fashion Council.
Flash forward: “Sometimes, I find the current state of fashion sad and frustrating. I can be very outspoken about it because I want it to be as exciting for future generations as it was for me” an emotional excerpt from a mesmerisingly chilling delivery Scully gave in December last year at Business of Fashion’s Voices conference, an audience hosting models Joan Smalls, Amber Valletta and Hari Nefheld. Where he also said “I work in a business I no longer recognise,”
It is then and there he vowed to be the voice for the ones too afraid to speak out, he promised to publicly out unacceptable behaviour if no real modification was made – a half hour speech I might add that is well worth a watch. I’ll admit I even broke out a tear or two.
And here we find ourselves now, in the after math of that formidable “outing post”, we are left at a split in the runway and with a strong leader at our hands.
When summarising Scully’s career it isn’t hard to justify what he’s done for fashion, in my research on this renegade you get a real sense of the strong morals and values he upholds in his line of work, the belief systems he exerts onto the teams around him in the Industry and the general exemplary attitude we should all muster.
I think I’ll leave this quote here in conclusion, and I feel I can speak on behalf of the masses when I say – we’ll be on your side of the runway Scully.
“I’ll tell you the most important advice I ever received at the beginning of my career… André Leon Talley who I was working with at the time, when I got really wrapped up about this, what can I do about this? What can I do about this? This is just so awful, and André Leon Talley, he said this – you know what James, just remember this and take this with you. Every time you look at a girl or a boy or you are working with someone, treat them like they’re your own child”.