Higher Love: An Interview with Ganni- Creative Director Ditte Reffstrup

vor 3 years

Why Ganni’s new collection is exactly what we all need after the last year of lockdowns.

For Ganni’s spring/summer 2022 show during Copenhagen Fashion Week we went high, really high, staged way atop the city’s manmade ski slope and hiking trail built on Denmark’s largest waste-to-energy plant, the CopenHill. A move that chimes with Ganni’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and forward-thinking eco intentions yet again.

As real-life is inching back and actual runway shows with their street style moments are possible again the Ganni-Creative Director Ditte Reffstrup captured this new spirit by designing a collection drenched in good vibes and even those afraid of heights couldn’t help but get into the groove, especially with disco-funk music blaring over the speakers.

It’s safe to say that Ganni’s dresses are always a mood-boosting proposition but Ganni’s spring/ summer 2022 runway celebrated life and love with even longer and sharper fan-favourite Peter Pan collars and clothes that really make you want to shake a leg again. From the red denim blazer – “you’re sure to turn heads” – and knitted dresses – “sexy, but understated” – these are clothes that demand an occasion. Or at least a fabulous night in. The new collection, which Ganni gave the name “Higher Love”, as a subtle reference to the fact our planet is greater than fashion and,
quite frankly, we need to do more to protect it, was billed as an antidote to locking down and staying home. Ganni’s spring/summer 2022 collection plainly captures the ‘see and be seen’ spirit that’s returning back to our wardrobes. Looking good and then doing good for the environment couldn’t be better.

We were in conversation with Ganni-Creative Director Ditte Reffstrup talking about reigniting our love for life, our appreciation for ourselves, and dressing up:

Ditte, How would you describe what you do?
I am the Creative Director of GANNI. Our goal is to create bold designs with a measurable positive impact on our communities and the planet.

Which words describe GANNI the best?
Confident, playful, and fun.

What’s the difference between GANNI and other Scandinavian brands?
I remember, back in 2009, I just couldn’t connect my personal style or the way my friends dressed with the typical Scandinavian style. It was mainly boho-chic but however already mixed with Scandinavian minimalism. It felt like something was missing for me. And in the same year we decided to found GANNI, full of contrast and personality – Scandi Style 2.0 if you will.

How has your background influenced who you are today?

I grew up in Hirtshals. That’s a small Danish fishing town in the northeast of Jutland. Growing up there my parents taught me the real value of hard work.

Before becoming GANNI’s Creative Director, you were a fashion buyer.
What lessons did you learn from that experience that you use today?

I learned a lot about dressing people. Experiencing closely what people actually want to wear still helps me when designing for GANNI. It’s very important to me that we always have our community in mind.

Where do you tend to look for or find inspiration for GANNI? Who or what is consistently on your mood board?
I can’t plan or force my inspiration. I always try to stay curious and open my eyes wherever I am. Inspiration can come from everything and nothing. Especially music and the people I drive by on my bike in the morning always get my creativity going.

What were the inspirations behind this season’s collection?
Spring-Summer 2022 is all about reigniting our love for life and love for ourselves. It’s very much about loving yourself, expressing yourself, and being happy with who you are. The collection is about saying ‘yes’ to what feels right, saying ‘yes’ to yourself.”

What is your favourite look or item from this collection?

I love our bright red denim blazer. The sculptured sleeves and this season’s signature silver buttons, inspired by scrunchies, take it up a notch. Wear it with the matching pants for the perfect everyday uniform, or contrast it with a light cotton dress.

If we would only buy one piece from GANNI’s latest SS22 collection, what should it be?

The clogs we used for the runway looks – they’re so much fun. They make you walk with so much confidence. They’re super chunky and quite loud, a true showstopper. I always try to channel that energy in our GANNI looks.

Is there any piece from GANNI that you wear every day?
Our new denim pieces are a trusted work-ally for me. I love wearing jeans, you just throw them on and are ready to go. In Copenhagen, we bike everywhere. We actually even tested that you could cycle to and from work comfortably in all our jeans.

The brand feels very rooted in Copenhagen. What does the city mean to you?
How does it differ from your relationship(s) to other places?

Copenhagen is where my heart is – I get so much of my inspiration from this city. Paris and Milan are very glamorous but there’s just something more laidback and effortless about Copenhagen Fashion.

What do you think Copenhagen Fashion Week sets apart from others and why is the Scandinavian style currently resonating so strongly with the fashion community across the world?
Fun, efficiency, and responsibility in a cool way. The Copenhagen Fashion scene is a celebration of our hometown. It’s an eclectic mix of all things in Scandinavia. It feels like a really special time for Danish culture in general, at the moment.

Your shows are always a highlight of Copenhagen Fashion Week. How do you manage to stand out?
I just go with my gut. Every time. That’s it.

After the corona-lockdown, how does it feel to finally showcase GANNI’s latest collection in front of an audience, again?
We felt so lucky to be returning to a physical show at Copenhagen Fashion Week finally again. 
 I was beyond happy seeing old and new friends and getting a little closer again with our community this season. And we have been very mindful of welcoming our global community of #GANNIGIRLS through a full 360 degree digital experience. Having our global community cheer us on from around the globe just feels super special, nothing really compares.

Tell us about your design process. How does the mood after the corona-lockdown affect your design and could you bring any new creative approaches from it to GANNI?
What I love most about SS22 is how our design team came out of lockdown more together, stronger than ever. My team, the energy we have, it’s the reason I get excited on my bike cycling to work every morning.

What are you listening to when you design? What kind of environment inspires you?
To me, music has always been the biggest source of inspiration. I remember being a kid, watching MTV for the first time. It was like a whole new world was unfolding before my eyes.

We all awaited to finally dress up again. Do you have a certain type of woman in mind when you design? Tell us about the #GANNIGIRL
The GANNI Girl is not one single polished persona – it’s a plural. GANNI Girls is a movement, a state of mind. These girls march to the beat of their own drum. It’s a lifestyle rather than a sense of style. It’s a community of fiercely independent and confident women, whose personal style is a form of self-expression.

GANNI’s success story has been incredible. What advice would you give to young designers hoping to repeat your success?

Fashion should always be fun.

Text: Olivier Mohrińge

Image Courtesy of Ganni

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