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5 minutes with: David Gandy

The global men’s style icon on how he likes to spend his downtime, what he’s been working on during the pandemic, and what makes Sloane Street unique for him

6 October 2021

Image: Arnaldo Anaya-Lucca
David Gandy loves to relax in Chelsea Physic Garden 
Christmas on Sloane Street
The Sea, The Sea, one of Gandy's favourite restaurants around Sloane Street

What’s your greatest extravagance?

My greatest passion – and extravagance – is cars, especially restoring classic cars. I collaborated with Jaguar Classic on the restoration of my Jaguar XK120, a model I believe to be one of the most beautiful cars ever built. After an incredible 2,700 hours of restoration the car was finished around the same time my daughter was born and is therefore named Matilda, after her.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Being with my daughter, Matilda. Whether this is taking her to nursery or sitting in the sandpit together. She is almost three and makes me laugh every day with her wildly truthful observations and questions.

What is the quality or skill you most admire in others?

I value and admire loyalty and trust beyond anything else. My closest friends and confidantes are the guys I grew up with and the people I met at the start of my career.

“I look to old Hollywood icons who I admire for their style and naturally emulate this but with a modern twist”

What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

You can’t fully appreciate today if you worry too much about tomorrow. This is something I strive to live by, but still have to remind myself to live in the moment every day.

My natural inclination is to let my mind wander ahead by five or even 10 years, which can have its benefits, such as building the foundations for launching my own brand, David Gandy Wellwear, but I always try to be grateful for what I have here and now.

How do you relax?

I love taking my dog, Dora, for a walk with my daughter, Matilda. We live in South West London and are so lucky to have a wealth of amazing parks and dog-friendly cafés on our doorstep. I am also at my most relaxed when driving and racing cars.

What is your favourite pastime?

Contrary to what people might think, I am actually quite a shy person so one of my favourite pastimes is hosting a low-key dinner party for friends or family at home. I love cooking and sway between being very adventurous or sticking to my signature dish, which is a well-rehearsed Chateaubriand.

What is your most treasured possession?

A Jaeger-LeCoultre watch engraved with Matilda’s date of birth.

Favourite quote or mantra to live by?

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience” – Mark Twain

How would you describe your personal style?

I would probably say it is a modern take on classical styling. I don’t follow trends and would definitely not describe myself as fashionable. I look to old Hollywood icons who I admire for their style and naturally emulate this but with a modern twist.

“Sloane Street is so multifaceted, constantly evolving with new restaurants, shops, exhibitions and theatre productions – you can never get tired of it!”

What have you been working on in the past year?

I am incredibly fortunate that the nature of my work means I spend most of my time travelling the world, but when the pandemic took hold, I was suddenly at home for the longest period of time in years.

Starting my own brand is something I have wanted to do for the past decade but with time on my hands and an amazing team on board I was able to make a vision become a reality.

David Gandy Wellwear is a world-first concept bringing apparel and wellbeing together in a lifestyle brand that fuses fashion, function and feeling.

Most people probably associate me with tailoring but, being a naturally shy person, I often wear it like a suit of armour when I know I’m going to be in the public eye or at high-profile events. The side they probably don’t see – the majority of my time – is when I’m at my happiest and most comfortable in the everyday: becoming a dad and raising my little girl, walking for miles with my dog, travelling for work or simply kicking back with friends and family.

Those situations require a different kind of wardrobe: one that’s still stylish and well-fitted but most importantly one that’s practical and comfortable against my skin. I opt for clothes that not only reflect the sense of security and happiness I feel, but which physically reinforce those positive feelings and mindset through how they feel, enhancing my wellbeing in the process. Essentially, I want clothes that feel as good against my skin as I feel in it. This is Wellwear.

Inspired by my 20 years of industry experience and based on the scientific benefits of wearing soft, comfortable clothing, the essence of the first 20-piece Wellwear collection lies in a belief in what’s been dubbed ‘emotionally durable’ fashion; every piece of the collection is designed to be both physically and emotionally lasting, making you feel good every time you slip into a T-shirt, sweatshirt or pair of beautifully finished joggers.

You live in the West London area; what are your favourite thing(s) to see or do in the Sloane Street neighbourhood?

I love the village feel of Pavilion Road. Tucked behind Sloane Square, it has the most amazing artisanal food offering where you can enjoy an alfresco glass of wine and lunch at The Sea, The Sea while watching the world go by, or drop in to the London Cheesemongers followed by the family-owned Provenance Village Butcher to pick up weekend supplies.

I also love going to Chelsea Physic Garden to relax and think on the rare occasions I am able to, and Peter Jones is a weekly destination for basics and anything child-related!

Which local community projects/charities are you involved with?

I am an ambassador for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, which is where I fostered my dog, Dora. I am also an ambassador for Style for Soldiers, which was founded by Emma Willis to provide injured service men and women with smart, well-fitting clothing to wear for interviews and formal occasions to help with confidence and morale as dressing properly was such a fundamental part of military life and a new uniform was needed.

What makes Sloane Street special for you?

Sloane Street has a unique nostalgic feeling about it, particularly around Christmas time, as I used to love visiting this area with my mum in the lead up to Christmas when I was young. It is so multifaceted, constantly evolving with new restaurants, shops, exhibitions and theatre productions – you can never get tired of it!

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