SPOTLIGHT: Mr Daniel Garofali
Here at The Rakish Gent we have become used to seeing male models move out of the world of the catwalk and behind the camera, and expand into other areas. It makes perfect sense – they are used to working with some of the best designers, photographers and management in the world and being so, are best placed to learn from their peers. Daniel Garofali is a male model that has absorbed much of what he has seen and taken that knowledge into setting out alone.
The Australian born model travelled the world as a dancer with some of the worlds biggest performing artists, after studying at the McDonald College of Performing Arts and the Sydney College of Arts. Dancing let to modeling and exposure to international campaigns and magazines. Well known for his enviable body, he continues to work as a model but has also developed his own underwear collection. Named GAROFALI the collection features three underwear styles that are flattering and simple in their design.
To find out more, we spoke to Daniel who told us all about the transition between different art worlds, the logistics of setting up his own brand and the pros and cons of being a male model in the twenty first century.
Starting from the beginning, you attended a performing arts college and worked as a dancer. Was this always your goal?
Growing up, I attended a performing arts school similar to that of Fame where we would train in all forms of arts from acting to dance. Before I even graduated, I was already touring in shows and performing around the world. I'm not sure that it was always a goal but somehow I ended up in that world and the industry was particularly kind to me. It was such an amazing experience to travel and perform at such a young age. It wasn't until a little later that the opportunity of modeling came into my life but if I wasn't on sets now I would be still on stage performing. There really isn't anything like it and at times I miss it greatly, especially when I attend shows and see my friends performing with some of the biggest music artists. Maybe one day, I will be back onstage.
How did you make the leap from dancer to model?
My modeling career began when I was scouted while performing onstage in back in Australia. After the show, the model scouts were waiting for me at stage door. I was immediately signed and the booked my first modeling gig that week. From that point, modeling took a life of its own and naturally became the main focus of my career. I'm still signed to my first Australian modeling agency to this day.
What has been the career highlights so far in your work as a model?
There are two pivotal moments to happen to me that really changed the trajectory of my career. The first was signing with my New York based modeling agency, Wilhelmina Models which lead to relocating to the big apple. That changed everything for me.
The second was launching my own label, GAROFALI. To have modeled my way through every pair of underwear over my career to selling my own has subsequently flipped my career on its head. It's such a cool thing to see people from all around the world taking selfie's in your own brand.
Looking at the industry, how sustainable do you think a career as a male model is?
Unfortunately, the future of models, especially male models does not look good. The era of the supermodel is long over and the social media star reigns everything. There are, of course, exceptions but the reality of the industry is that modeling is a stepping stone to something else, usually something that is exist in the same world, whether it's acting, photography, design and so on. Whether or not the industry has changed, models usually fall into this, make their money, travel the world and then seek for happiness somewhere else.
How would you describe the fashion scene in Australia?
There are so many talent individuals in the fashion scene in Australia from photographers to stylist to designers. Although the scene is very small down under, many Aussie brands are being worn by many influential people and doing amazing volumes overseas.
What made you want to do more than just model, and work on calendars, DVDs and more?
The business of developing merchandise really only started because of my loyal and amazing fanbase. My success as a model has been greatly effected by my followers, even when I began my career and social media was just starting out. They were the ones who wanted me to create merchandise for their walls, clothing for them to wear and DVD's for them to watch. Nothing really beats making people you have never met happy and seeing wearing your face on a T-Shirt or your poster on their wall.
Logistically, what were the steps that led to the launch of an underwear collection?
For 10 years I have been modeling underwear (amongst other things) and I knew, at some point, and after the success of my merchandise, that I wanted to create my own stand alone brand. Underwear just made sense.
Logistically, it was very involved. In the beginning, I didn't fathom the amount of work it would take to get the brand off the ground. Starting from design, sourcing materials and manufacturers, pattern-making, and sampling. And that's all to just get the so-called perfect pair on a fit model. In retrospective, it was fun and such a great learning experience but there were a few times where I was ready to give up on it. Especially, when it the budget is blown and I was having video conferences with multiple factory reps between 3am - 6am in the morning.
Did being a model help? What did you learn from the industry that influenced your brand?
Of course. It was almost I have been researching and making contacts for this my whole career. What I liked and what I didn't like.
Thankfully I had some great friends in the fashion industry who offered their advice and gave me some guidance.
The male underwear market has seen huge expansion in the last few years? What does GAROFALI bring to the table that other brands do not?
For too long, men have been hold on to their underwear for too long. I think they finally realized that all this time they should have been updating their underwear drawer more often. Nothing feels as good as a brand new pair of underwear. Men have really taken control on what underwear they wear and for what occasion so they no longer let their wives, girlfriends or mums by for them.
For me, making underwear that was as cool as my outerwear was a high priority. GAROFALI, at its launch, is a simple black and white three-piece collection. What people love is that it is a slick and minimal design offering 3 styles to provide options for all occasions and for everyone's cut preference. We also offer a hybrid style that is innovative in the men's underwear category which has received lots of attention and become one of the best-sellers.
For those that are new to the brand, what can they expect?
After a year in the making, the first GAROFALI Underwear Capsule includes 3 styles:
The Jock Brief - a unique and innovative hybrid of a brief and a jockstrap.
The Boxer Brief - a relaxed and comfortable go-to.
The Boxer Brief Sport - a training essential.
What about the future? What are your goals for the label?
As far as the first capsule, we have been focusing on getting the brand out into the world and shot for publications. Also, while its only currently available on www.garofali.com we are exploring some retail options.
Just as this capsule went into production, we started building on ideas for the next. It's an ongoing process - new styles, color ways and so on. A Swim capsule is also in the future.
And finally, for you, what makes a rakish gent?
My go to style is Black on Black High-Athleticwear. It’s a style that is the result of my lifestyle of staying active, traveling and being comfortable. So I guess, the effortless to it all would be the most rakish.
Quick fire questions
Ideal travel destination – Greece
Best store in the world – The Internet
Gadget of choice – MacBook Pro
Your go to shoes – Adidas Tubulars
Designer/ brand of choice – Supreme
Favourite fragrance – Durance Fragrances
Best Spot in London – Chiltern Firehouse
Essential grooming product – Coconut Oil
Recommended app – Hopper
Shop the collection online at GAROFALI.
Follow Daniel on Instagram.
All images by Nicholas Andrews.