Now one of the highest paid models in the world, Essex-born David Gandy launched his career at 21 after winning a competition on ITV’s This Morning which included a contract with Select Model Management. Since then he’s fronted a multitude of fashion brand campaigns – you’ll have seen him bobbing about in a boat off Capri in his white trunks slathered in a certain best-selling man’s fragrance – and topped numerous best-dressed men lists. Having branched out into his own fashion ranges, he designs underwear, swimwear, loungewear, and now, taking inspiration from the Spitfire designers and pilots of the Second World War, launches Aspinal of London, The Aerodrome Collection by David Gandy.
Combining Gandy’s fashion sense with Aspinal’s craftsmanship, The Aerodrome collaboration has resulted in 18 pieces of men’s travel and business accessories, from mission and weekend bags in dark brown and tan calfskin, khaki or navy canvas, through to washbags and passport covers. All come in pared down retro aviation styling such as a lock that is a copy of the Spitfire Mk1 firing button, along with tech path cabling and optional charger packs.
When he’s not involved in fashion and modelling, designing, writing for publications, directing short films for brands and investing in start-ups, Gandy is working on good causes, such as the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, where he is celebrity ambassador, the Style for Soldiers charity and the Blue Steel Appeal, his own non-profit foundation.
He takes time out from his busy schedule to talk about the launch of the Aspinal of London, The Aerodrome Collection by David Gandy.
How did the collaboration with Aspinal come about?
Aspinal is a brand I have much respected and admired. I love the fact that it’s a British brand and the quality and style of the product rivals some of the best brands in the world. I got talking to Iain Burton, the owner of Aspinal, and we dreamed up a collaboration based around one of the most iconic areas of British flight and engineering.
How much input did you have?
With all my collaborations I have huge amounts of input. I worked closely with the design team to bring my creative visions to life. I also creatively directed the Aerodrome campaign and have had an input on virtually every element of the launch. Aspinal and all the team have been incredible to work with.
What inspired you about it?
My inspiration for the collection was to base it around an iconic piece of British engineering. The Spitfire is probably the most iconic and beautiful aeroplane that has ever been built. This collection is a tribute to that plane and the young pilots that flew the plane for our freedom.
The range is travel orientated, do you like to travel?
I love to travel. I travelled quite extensively before going into the fashion industry and for the past 15 years have had around 60-90 flights a year. I have bought and owned many travel bags and a lot of luggage over the years and have seen what works and what can be improved. I wanted to create the ultimate travel collection for men that would satisfy every man’s travel needs.
Where is your favourite place to visit/travel – city, country, hotel?
I have travelled extensively. I can’t say there is one particular place that is my favourite. Africa is one of my favourite destinations and the most exciting trip was when I trekked for gorillas. New York is one of my favourite cities, as well as Buenos Aires. My favourite hotel is Dunton Hot Springs in Colorado.
Have you ever done a parachute jump?
Not yet. It’s something I have always wanted to do.
Is that your dog in the photoshoot? What’s it called?
Yes, Dora is my dog. She is from my charity, Battersea Dogs home, and we rehomed her last year.
What breed is she?
She is a mongrel. Part Collie, part Yorkie and many other breeds.
Did you get to go up in a Spitfire?
Myself and nine other people are going up in the Spitfire to launch the Aerodrome range.
Have you always been a petrolhead? What was your first car? What is your current car?
Yes I have loved cars from a very young age. My first car was an old Ford Fiesta. I currently have a collections of classic cars that I have fully restored. My daily driver is a Jaguar F type.
Which of the Collection pieces would you use yourself, or do you have all of them?
As I said, I have created every single piece to suit all men’s travel needs, from a laptop case to a 48-hour weekend bag. All of the Collection has design elements inspired from the Spitfire. The briefcase has a replica Spitfire firing button to open and close the case for example.
If you weren’t a model what would you like to do?
Well, I now design and creative direct for Aspinal. I’ve just started directing short films for brands. I have columns with many leading newspapers and publications. I have my clothing range with M&S and have just become ambassador of tailoring. I am ambassador for many charities. I also invest in start-up companies… so I have branched out from just modelling.
How much time do you spend at the gym?
About 45mins, four to five times a week.
Did you set out to become the world’s most famous male supermodel?
I strive to be successful in everything I choose to do.
Where do you live and who do you live with?
I live in southwest London with my girlfriend and, of course, Dora.
What’s the best part of your job?
That depends which job I am doing, but I love the diversity of my work and not one day is the same as the next.
How would you describe your personal style?
Utilitarian with a nod to British tailoring.
Who has good style?
Many people have great style. I appreciate individuality and personal style. I will never say if someone’s style is bad. I may not appreciate it, but I will very much respect that that is their style and they feel comfortable with that.
Any fashion faux pas?
Of course. I often make fashion faux pas, it’s how you learn what works and doesn’t work for you personally.
Which item of clothing would you never throw away?
I often donate items to charity auctions. However, I never throw items away because fashion goes around in circles and often a great piece of clothing will become fashionable again. I also don’t buy disposable fashion. I like quality and expect items to last for a long time.
What’s the last thing you laughed at?
I laugh at everything. I often see the humour in things that people don’t. I did laugh that you asked what the name and breed of my dog was three times in this interview.
Aspinal of London, The Aerodrome Collection by David Gandy, www.aspinaloflondon.com