There have been few growth areas in the last year, but home workouts have been a real winner – which has been great news for Gym Clothing Co. And let’s be honest – we’ve all eaten a bit more during the lockdown, so there’s been another reason for all those home workouts!
Launched in 2017 in Dubai by a team of fitness-loving expats, Gym Clothing Co has quickly become the activewear outfit of choice in the UAE. And they’ve now taken their high-performance clothes international, with a UK launch earlier this year. We caught up with one of the co-founders Max Bissell to talk influencers, sushi and taking over the world one workout at a time!
Gym Clothing Co interview
Congratulations on the international launch into the UK! How did you celebrate, with a good work out?
You got that right! I celebrated with a strong upper body session in the gym followed by my favourite cheat meal – unlimited sushi!
You’re a home-grown UAE business, which is a great success story – was there a Eureka moment when the plan came together or was it a more natural thing?
It was more of a natural thing, if I’m honest. I was a PE teacher at a school in Abu Dhabi, and the senior students asked me if I would create a top for them to wear as they weren’t fans of the current PE kit. I had always loved doing clothing designs in my spare time and making different products, so I shifted my focus that summer to PE kits. It led me into looking at the manufacturing process, product development, the costs involved and delivery times. The kids loved it, and I was inspired! From there, I decided to make it more of a business – dedicated clothing brand for sport/casual clothing in the Middle East. And it’s going pretty well so far!
Tackling the pandemic
How did you view the pandemic from a business standpoint?
I don’t think anyone saw it coming. Like many, we thought it would just pass – a very naive viewpoint looking back now. However, we were able to work with the situation we faced. More and more people started working out at home, using the time to get healthier, and we were there to support them with their goals. The UAE handled the pandemic well and we are eternally grateful that this country was so calm and proactive in a time of panic.
Going forward, where do you see the business in five years?
5 years is a long way away, and anything could happen between now and then, but we see ourselves as the number 1 home-grown independent gym clothing brand in the Middle East. We’ve also recently launched in the UK, which was incredibly successful, and so we are more than ready to explode there. And then there’s the USA, Australia… we’re ready to take it all on!
Working with influencers
Influencers clearly have a role in any industry, but those who are role models for aspiring young athletes play a key role for us. Everyone is influenced by what they see on social media, young and old alike, and so we have taken pride in building our team of ambassadors. Each member of our ambassador team shares our ethos and our drive, and helps educate our followers with nutrition, workouts, guidance and motivation through their own social media accounts.
They’re not just advertising tools for us. They are part of our family, part of the bigger picture at Gym Clothing Co, and they’ll grow with us.
And if you had to recommend just one piece from your collection for readers in Dubai, what would it be?
For me personally, it has to be the Ghost Collection. It’s lightweight, breathable and perfect for intense workouts. The shorts fit so well – something I’ve really struggled with other brands. I’m so excited to expand that range with different colours and styles too. And for the ladies, I just love the Bloom Collection. Go check it out!
Keep up to date with the latest news with our DubaiLAD page here.