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Ex Ben Sherman chief Pan Philippou returns to fashion fold as Chairman of start-up AWAN

Tom Bottomley
21 March 2024

Pan Philippou, best known for his CEO roles at Diesel, OTB Group, Ben Sherman and WDT, has just been appointed as Chairman of wellness-focused women’s fashion brand As We Are Now (AWAN).

The news was revealed on Linked-in by AWAN Founder Anette Miwa Dimmen, who wrote: “I am proud to announce that Panicko (Pan) Philippou is joining AWAN (As We Are Now) as Chairman.

“With over 25 years of experience in the global fashion industry Pan has had a number of CEO roles with renowned brands like Diesel, the OTB Group, Ben Sherman and the WDT group. His extensive expertise in brand building, financing, distribution, e-commerce, and strategic sales & marketing makes him a valuable addition to our leadership team.

“As we continue our journey of international expansion, Pan's insights and vision will play a pivotal role in shaping the next phase of AWAN's growth.”

Philippou responded: “Anette has achieved an awful lot in a short space of time and is determined to make AWAN a truly global brand built on sounds principles and a market gap that needs filling. I am honoured to join Anette on this journey.”

Pan Philippou

Pan Philippou

Speaking further to, Philippou said that he sees that AWAN, which was founded by entrepreneur Dimmen in Norway in January 2018, “has an opportunity in the marketplace combined with a switched-on founder.”

AWAN is currently a direct-to-consumer brand which focuses on “future fabrics”, circular principles and a tech enabled business model.

Its signature piece is the ‘Wrap Dress’, described as being ready to go “from work to party to lounging at home” and made from a silky soft breathable Tencel lyocell fabric that “literally feels like skincare”.

AWAN was initially launched and funded with crowdfunding campaigns. In spring 2020, the brand received its first pre-seed investment from early stage VC Antler Stockholm, and saw a 300% surge in sales during the Covid pandemic, with increased focus on working from home. In 2021, AWAN started to scale with impressive growth in Norway and Sweden, and it is now raising a pre-seed round for further market expansion. Dimmen said: “We're now preparing to welcome additional investors post-Easter.”


AWAN (Emma Sukalic)

Speaking about how his interest in AWAN was stirred, Philippou commented: “AWAN has had exposure in Vogue, Elle and Forbes and is spearheading conscious wellness clothing that is claiming the white space between fashion and leisurewear.

“We admire brands that are truly community based, such as Ganni, Reformation, Lululemon and Rapha. We want to be a women’s community based brand on an international scale - that amplifies the message of sustainable fashion and subscribes to the doctrine of the circular and ethical inclusive world we want to live in.

“We have enormous interest worldwide for the brand, but we want to scale with consideration. We have a great direct-to-consumer business but want to supplement this with business to business partnerships with key retailers worldwide.

“Eventually, we want to set up a number of flagship stores in key locations in places such as London, Milan, Stockholm, Tokyo and New York in the future. In addition, we want to expand our core offer with natural extensions that augment the AWAN lifestyle offer.”

Philippou’s most recent forays into the world of fashion have been as Co-Founder of menswear, womenswear and accessories brand Jordanluca, as well as holding advisory roles at Damaris lingerie and Wax London (when it started).

He has also undertaken “amazing technology projects” with the likes of Kate Spade, Coach and Macy’s department store in New York, with a focus on “immersive shopping”. Philippou says he is also currently involved in “a ground-breaking AI project.”

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