David Gandy, one of the highest earning models of all time, is famous for his good looks. He has been posing professionally since 2002 – a year after he won, thanks to a housemate who unknowingly entered him, a modeling competition on the UK’s longest-running morning shows. In 2006, he became the face of Dolce & Gabbana. A little over a decade later, after hundreds of magazine covers, half a dozen high-profile cologne ads, and a few gigs (thousands of them, probably) for fashion brands well known, he distanced himself from the profession.
He started overhauling cars for British QG. Then he had a column in the Daily Telegraph. And, in a throwback to the world he had kind of distanced himself from, he maintained a six-year collaboration with Marks & Spencer called David Gandy for Autograph (which is a line under Marks & Spencer).
He was everywhere except in front of the camera. Instead, he’s been hunkered down at a drawing board, creating his own brand: David Gandy Wellwear, a brand that Gandy says specializes in accessible luxury.
This is an ambitious goal in the current climate. Luxury, as defined by the brands that dominate the space, is notoriously inaccessible; whether it’s sweatshirts or sneakers, everything is incredibly expensive. It’s a wardrobe for the wealthy, and the rest of us need to consider copycat styles from fast fashion boutiques. But to make it work for Gandy, who put pen to paper to launch his own brand more than 10 years ago, he had to find a middle ground, where the same quality of products are offered at a lower price. .
“Some people want to perceive luxury as the most expensive,” he says, “but we perceive luxury as the best.”
Right now, David Gandy Wellwear is stocking “the essentials”, as Gandy puts it. But his open name — David Gandy Welfarenot david gandy Work clothes or David Gandy Aptitude — leaves room for growth. That way, when they make suits, cashmere sweaters and salvage gear in the future, Gandy’s brand will, if all goes as planned, be well known for everything, and not defined by its sweatshirts or her bathing suits.
“We have shrunk [things] and created the ultimate versions of what people wear everyday,” he says. “We want to compete with the best out there…while making sure it’s achievable.
After the basics, Gandy plans to release a litany of new designs — mineral-infused salvage clothing included. It may sound like snake oil, but the technology isn’t necessarily new, and it’s far from exclusive to Gandy’s brand; Under Armor tried it out in 2017. Materials company 37.5 Technology sold its mineral-infused fabric to Adidas, Burberry, Salomon, Mack Weldon, Mission Workshop and more.
Releases like these prove that Gandy is on the offensive, striving to grow David Gandy Wellwear and expand its footprint in the United States.
“We’re small, and that makes us dynamic, but at the same time, we don’t have the budget of those big brands,” he explains. “But the better we do and the more revenue we generate, the more we can inject back into the brand and expand it further and grow into other categories.”
Right now, according to Gandy, nearly 15% of the brand’s orders come from US shoppers, a solid percentage for a brand that has done almost no advertising here. Sure, Gandy is enough to spark interest, but the brand is growing fast – and now he’s back for his own bi-annual lookbooks for the foreseeable future.