EXCLUSIVE Retail British model David Gandy to expand fashion brand to the Gulf By Megha Merani December 7, 2022 Creative Commons Gandy says his Wellwear brand is the result of his 20-plus years of fashion industry experience In discussions with potential licensing and franchising partnersDavid Gandy Wellwear includes sustainable lounge and swimwearAims to discourage consumers from buying fast fashion British model David Gandy is planning to expand his sustainable fashion brand to the UAE. “The Gulf region is a very interesting market for us,” Gandy told AGBI. “We are global with direct-to-consumer sales with David Gandy Wellwear, but what we’ve done in London and Paris, and what we are looking to do in New York and the UAE, is partner with department stores or malls. “We’ve had a couple of offers, and had meetings here with people about licensing and franchising.” Global luxury fashion brands look to the Gulf for growth in 202330 of the most sustainable companies in the Middle EastEthical fashion: it’s so right now, but it’s granny chic too The David Gandy Wellwear collection, which launched in 2021, includes environmentally friendly clothes from t-shirts, sweatshirts and joggers, to swimwear and bathrobes. The former Marks & Spencer model, who partnered with the British retail chain for six years on items including suits, pyjamas and the fastest-selling swimming trunks in the store’s history, said that although e-commerce has surged since the pandemic, he still sees people returning to bricks and mortar retail outlets. “I’m slightly old fashioned, where I like to touch and feel the quality and try stuff on before I buy it,” Gandy said. “We want people to have that tangible element – to be able to feel the quality and comfort of our wellwear. That’s very difficult to do on the computer screen.” The global ethical fashion market is expected to grow from $6.93 billion in 2021 to $7.57 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate of 9.1 percent, according to a report from The Business Research Company. It is then expected to grow to $10.28 billion in 2026 at a compound annual growth rate of 8 percent. Gandy is one of the highest paid male models of all time and has been the face of Dolce & Gabbana and hundreds of magazine covers. He said consumer spending power and a growing awareness of sustainability in the region made it a good market for his clothing line. “People spend money in the UAE,” Gandy said. Alongside North America, the Middle East is expected to have the highest growth potential for the fashion industry next year, according to the State of Fashion 2023 survey released by The Business of Fashion and McKinsey. The report also said the global fashion industry will need to weather inflation while finding opportunities in shifting consumer patterns, channel and digital marketing strategies, and manufacturing approaches. Gandy said his Wellwear line is inspired by his 20-plus years of industry experience and is based on the scientific benefits of wearing comfortable and sustainable clothing – and a desire to disrupt fast fashion. “The UK can be very fast fashion-based and that’s exactly what we are not. We’re very adaptable to different markets,” he said. “We are trying to get people to shop differently. Creative CommonsGandy has decades of experience with luxury brands, from fashion to fast cars. Picture: Creative Commons “Being around luxury brands and clothing and seeing how people buy them and what they expect from them, I’ve incorporated that into Wellwear, but at a much more attainable price.” He added: “Whether you like or not, whether you agree with how far the environment is affected – it is affected. I’ve been in the fashion industry and it’s one of the biggest polluters in the world, and that has to stop. “It’s down to the consumers. If you stop buying fast fashion, it will have a massive positive impact on the environment.” Gandy is in Dubai to race his vintage Jaguar as part of the first ever UAE edition of Italy’s 1,000-mile rally, Mille Miglia, also referred to as the most beautiful race in the world. He added that he has been asked to speak at Cop28 in the UAE next year.