Generating quite a bit of buzz on the fashion scene lately is Copenhagen-based GANNI – a retro fashion brand catering to a more high-end clientele. The brand was founded by an art connoisseur in the early 2000s. The then gallery owner was commissioned to design the perfect cashmere knit, as the story famously goes. The fashion house was birthed out of this moment of inspiration, and was later bought by husband-and-wife team, Ditte and Nicolai Reffstrup.
The pair took over in 2009, with Ditte running the creative direction of the business, while Nicolai operates as the CEO. GANNI is now represented in more than 400 of the world’s best retailers, and can be found in more than 21 concept stores, across Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
GANNI is more than just another Scandinavian fashion label. In an interview published on PR Newswire, Ditte explains: “With GANNI we wanted to do something different than the typical stereotypes of Scandinavian fashion, which when we started were either high-concept Scandi-style or girly-boho. Aiming to create a third alternative, we sought after a more playful and effortless approach to design, that represents how I want to dress and look. Without strict dogmas or rules, but with room for personality, contrasts and experimentation.”
The brand is aimed at your more style-conscious consumer, catering to those who recognize high-end fashion, but may not be able to afford a high-end price point. The prices of the GANNI garments remain affordable, the designs are bold and unique and the quality is top notch. Some may even say that a GANNI piece is bold and eccentric enough to add a layer of “interesting” to a rather plain wardrobe. The fashion house offers a varied selection of items, such as graphic tees to statement blouses and funky jumpsuits.
In 2017 the brand was likened to be one of the top three most influential fashion labels of the year, with Gucci leading the pack, and Mango coming up as a close second in the hipster-segment of the market. GANNI was hailed as a contemporary brand that created each season’s must-have top picks, with the likes of Beyonce caught wearing some of the new labels hottest designs.
In an interview with WhoWhatWear, the pair talk about the brands sudden rise to fame, and how it evolved from being something completely unique to what it is today. “I don’t think you could call it a brand [at that time of conception].” explains Nicolaj. “A friend of ours who had a gallery was doing clothes here and there, and I just suspect mostly it was what he kind of liked rather than trying to put together a proper collection, so in that sense it was a little random,”
“Ditte started working with him, helping him out, developing a style, designing a pair of shoes and things like that, and she went on to become very successful for him. So at that point we started to kind of join the company.”
Ditte used the opportunity to finally create the garments that many of the “it” girls in her circle, were longing for. “I would describe GANNI as a very Scandinavian or very Copenhagen-ish brand—a very effortless, laid-back, cool style. People often have a picture of Scandinavian style as either very premium or very androgynous, and that was actually why I wanted to do GANNI, because I thought that something was missing in Copenhagen. I could not recognize myself in those two descriptions,” she explains.
Online stores such as Net-a-Porter and Browns Fashion have noticed the increase in interest in the hobo-chic brand. A rep from Browns explains how they instantly sold out on a GANNI tshirt that was marketed on Instagram. This seemingly simple T-shirt has a banana graphic and the world “Yellow”, spelt out in caps across the front. “Their fruit-printed T-shirts were a clear indicator of the popularity of the brand—they were an instant sell-out,” Jennifer Bishop, womens wear buyer at Brownsfashion.com shared on Global Apparel Forum.
Ditte agreed that the flurry of interest, in that particular collection, proved to them that they were on to something. “I put the T-shirt on a girl who had never done a show before. She had never been outside Sweden! But I found her at a model agency—she was the only bald, shaved-head girl I could find—and so she took the train from Malmö to Copenhagen and I put her in it with a beautiful lace skirt and sneaks, and even though we had big models like Nadja Bender, people went mad about this girl.” Nicolaj quickly chimed in and I’m hastened to agree: “It was more the outfit!”
With the #GANNIGirls hashtag quickly gaining popularity, and the likes of Helena Christensen and Kate Bosworth, adding to the hordes of GANNI-fans who are posting pics of themselves in the hot new labels attire, it’s safe to say that the brand is not going anywhere soon. . “We picked up on that hashtag and we’ve been using it ever since,” says Ditte. “A lot of people resonated extremely well with that.”
“I love when I see people wearing GANNI—and I can see that it’s easy for them, that they are working, that it’s okay to wear sneaks with a long floral dress … When I see people in GANNI, it makes me very proud and happy, and I think people look cool,” says Ditte.
“GANNI has definitely cultivated a loyal and notable ‘tribe,’ with fashion editors, influencers and street style stars all wearing and adoring the brand. It’s a brand with huge visibility, having been seen on so many cool women,” says Bishop. “Their strong influencer following is a real testament to the product—these women really want to be #GANNIGirls and I think this really shines through in an age where influencer dressing initiatives are not always quite so organic.”
The GANNI mesh dress is the latest craze. The Tilden mesh maxi dress is made of the softest fabric, which adds an element of bohemian-simplicity. The Tilden mesh wrap dress is a more flattering variety of the design and is a shorter length. Available in the same print and fabric is the Tilden mesh rollneck top.