Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Making of David Gandy - August Man Malaysia Magazine Interview

When I started in the industry, it was all about the androgynous skinny guy. Masculine guys couldn't even get jobs to save their lives, perhaps only commercially. An androgynous guy was much more editorial based and appeared on the covers of every magazine," he says to August Man.

It is hard to imagine but Gandy was actually laughed at during his early days as a model when he struggled to fit into the Dior Homme suits designed by Hedi Slimane, but that was indeed the case when he delved into modeling fresh out of university. Gandy was discovered when he won a modeling competition organized by the morning talk show This Morning. "Booze and going out," is how he described his life at the time when he appeared on the Jonathan Ross show. 

At 6-ft 3" and with a physique built from playing rugby, Gandy found himself out of sorts with the look of the time. He was even labeled the "big guy" and told to lose bulk. But he is not the best at being told what to do and so he continued to maintain his physique, in fact, building more muscle.

"I stuck at it," he says when appearing on This Morning. "Fashion comes around and I knew there would be a time again for the athletic guy." Furthermore, it wasn't that he wasn't working. It's just that his work was more commercial involving run-of-the-mill stuff like catalogues. It wasn't however what the young Gandy wanted.
"I wanted to work with the best," he says on the show. And the best he got when he was selected as the face of Dolce & Gabbana's Light Blue fragrance campaign.

"I always wanted to be in an iconic commercial," he says to August Man. "2005 was a turning point. I didn't want to shoot catalogues and commercial. There was a go big or go home mentality in me. I was either going to do really well and be successful in my eyes, which is not limited to fame and fortune. I wanted to work with the most creative people out there and produce something very iconic. Light Blue's campaign established something new, working with photographer Mario Testino and designers Dolce & Gabbana, people say that it changed the industry. When we shot it we knew something special was coming, but we were not sure what it would be at the time. Some said this campaign brought men back into fashion."

It was while preparing for the Dolce and Gabbana runway show that Gandy received news that he was being considered for the fragrance campaign. From the show in Milan, he was whisked off to Capri, and then Naples. There he was, a guy with a tan, body and of course, a couple of other characteristics that made him the obvious choice for the campaign.

"People often tell me how lucky I was. In some respects I was very fortunate but I am quite a big believer in the saying that there is no such thing as luck, just a very well prepared person waiting for an opportunity to appear, and it did. Everyone told me to get smaller and lose weight, but I am quite a big boned guy so that was never going to happen. I felt happier being the bigger, muscular guy I wanted to be. I went against the trend, and just got bigger and more muscular, it worked out well in the end."

The campaign he credits as being the highlight of his 11 year career. It was the "kick off and peak of my shooting around the world." Prior to Light Blue, Gandy's fame was contained within the modeling industry, a situation, he says, that most male models have to contend with.

"Models can be really successful within the industry, but the public only know the face but not our names. This is what we have to change as a model. In reality, models aren't competing against each other for jobs, the real competition is with the movie stars, actors, sports athletes and music stars, everyone is coming out wanting to brand themselves. All the brands want to associate themselves with these famous names. Models can't stick around just being a model any more, at least I don't think they can."

Going beyond modeling is something that Gandy has certainly succeeded in doing. He now blogs on the website of British Vogue, is a regular contributor to GQ, writing about cars and has a men's style guide iPhone app which he designed back in 2010.

"I was at the Scottish Fashion Awards and there was the editor from British Vogue, Dolly Jones. She was at our table, along with myself and my PR. We got to talking and she asked if I would like to try to write for the blog and I said, "of course!" Now it's one of the most popular blogs on It gives people a perspective on the fashion industry. I don't just write about the fashion industry, but it invites people in. The fashion industry can be very elitist."

As a non-social media user, fans get to "know" him through but they also get to learn about the fashion industry, in particular, how much work goes into modeling.
It looks like the next couple of years are going to be pretty intense for Gandy as he ventures beyond modeling. apart from the numerous other projects, he also owns a production company with actor John Cusack and he continues to work on his iPhone app.

"Modeling does not take up all my time, but the traveling and writing does. In 5 to 10 years, I know where I want to be, but I wouldn't dare to say it, just in case I never get there. There's got to be a time where I slow down a little bit. I'm 32 now, in five years I will be 37. There's got to be time for a wife and kids and houses. I simply can't travel as much as I do now, which I've been doing for the past 11 years."

But no matter what, you can be sure that retirement is not in the picture.
"If I have a day off, I am the most irritable person because I haven't done anything. The thought of retirement kills me. My parents have brought me up with a huge work ethic. You work and you strive! I don't ask anyone for anything--just don't ask for help but do it all myself. I don't think people do that these days, they rely on their managers, financiers, or their agents to do everything for them. I'm very much a control freak and I want to do everything myself. I believe I have more interests in fashion, more about brand consulting or art directions. Creativity has been taken out of fashion for a while and I think it's time to pull it back."

The photo shoot today is about Brithsh style. What is the difference between British fashion and American fashion?
Truthfully, many American fashion designers are influenced by English fashion. Ralph Lauren talks about his love of English garb, his love for English tailoring. If you look at Tommy Hilfiger, that's gone very much back to tailoring, bow-ties, layering, waistcoats, great suits, and that all comes from Saville Row and from years and years of the British army's utilitarian style. But in present time many young English guys want American inspired clothing, which I think is a little sad. They are all lining up for Abercrombie & Fitch, but we have Saville Row and Carnaby Street, and all these wonderful designers like Burberry and Vivienne Westwood, just to name a few.

That's interesting because we are all obsessed with Paul Smith and Burberry.
This is a sad situation. The Americans and Asians, they all love Jaguars, Land Rovers, annd everything that carries a British heritage but the British are sometimes not as brand loyal as others, which is a little bit sad. Luckily British fashion is getting better in these days as tailoring gets back in trend. You simply can't find any better tailor shops than what we have in London. Also, we haven't had a major fashion week before. I'm glad the women's fashion week in London is getting stronger and the attention it deserves. I'm on the committee along with Tom Ford and Christopher Bailey to create the first men's fashion week, which debuted on June 14th. This means a lot on the push for British fashion.

You have so much on your hands, how do you find time to do them all?
Well, just make the most out of life! That's kind of it. It does take its toll after a while. For example, at the back of my head now I'm thinking about the iPhone application projects. Sixteen months ago I designed an app on men's style guide, and now I'm doing a fitness guide and that has to be signed off this week, so in between the shoots there were contracts being signed. Also, Vogue asked if I can get an article in by this week; meanwhile, GQ is asking for another article for a later date. So while most models come do a photo shoot then head home and on with their lives, I have a lot to do. However, I do like this busy lifestyle at the end of the day. It gives your brain cells a work out when you're writing, and writing is not an easy task. It's hard to appeal and interest readers.

Any obstacles in writing articles?
People say that I write like I talk, which sounds very easy, but sometimes I can write something and scrap it out then sit for hours. Sometimes it's hard trying to put the thoughts in your head on to paper, but sometimes it does so very easily. You'll wake up in the middle of the night with a great idea, write for half an hour and it's done, but I can sit there for days and not a word will come out. Especially when I write about cars. GQ is not a car magazine, although I know a lot about cars and I can write a very technically based article on cars, but readers of GQ are not going to be interested in what I write. Some women readers follow my Facebook fan page and on Vogue, they would then read car articles in GQ, therefore I can't just write about cars because that will bore them. I have to bring a little humor and personality into it. You know as well as I do that writing is a difficult thing.

Related Post:  Behind the scenes with David Gandy for 'August Man' by Chiun-Kai Shih
Behind the scenes with David Gandy for 'August Man' by Justin Violini
David Gandy for 'August Man' Malaysia (July 2012) (Photoshoot & Fist Look Inside)

Source: & DavidGandy's Official FB


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