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Why Ganni picked London as a global springboard

Step inside the Danish womenswear brand’s first international store, where style and sustainability sit side by side.

If the #GanniGirl invasion were not having enough of an impact on fashion – the pretty wrap dresses, chunky boots and leopard print everything seen all over Instagram can be traced back to the Danish womenswear brand – the latest stage of Ganni’s international expansion looks set to truly put it on the map.

Having conquered its home market, helped bring Copenhagen Fashion Week international attention, and caught the eye of more than 400 global stockists thanks to its trend-defining style and keen, contemporary price points (from £90 for a T-shirt to £610 for a leather jacket), Ganni opened its first store outside of Scandinavia in London on 16 August.

Led by husband-and-wife team creative director Ditte Reffstrup and founder and former CEO Nicolaj Reffstrup, the 2,750 sq ft store at 36 Beak Street in Soho, joins a handful of Scandi brands that have opened their doors in the same area of the British capital this summer, including Samsøe & Samsøe and, shortly, Wood Wood.

Although it has 22 stores across Denmark, Sweden and Norway, London is Ganni’s first international foray. As it typical of the brand’s rapid rate of expansion, two US stores, in New York and Los Angeles, are currently under construction and set to open later this autumn.

Ganni london store (14)

“Now is the right time to open our first international store as this year marks mine and Ditte’s 10-year anniversary at Ganni since we took over from a friend,” Nicolaj tells Drapers.

“We’ve seen some pretty rapid growth over the past five years on an international scale – one of the first international wholesale accounts we landed was in London [at Liberty London]. We’re not the type to stop and look back too much, so a bricks-and-mortar store outside Scandinavia was the next logical step forward.”

The pair picked the Soho location because of its “always on” buzz, and location among influential stores, restaurants, hotels and clubs in central London.

“The store will add a real-life experience [to the brand],” adds Nicolaj. “We’ve built a strong social [media] following, and we want our community to meet and get to know us and our universe in a tangible way. We hope the space will bring our community closer to our universe.”

Green agenda

Much like its collections, the store’s interior is a colourful, eclectic mix, and is based on the husband and wife’s home. A varied pastel palette and contrasting materials and textures catch the eye at every turn, while art works, soft furnishings and floral arrangements add a softer, homely touch – albeit it a very stylish, design-led, artful home.

Floating walls, at a mix of heights, and a variety of flooring finishes help segment the space, which stocks the brand’s full collection, alongside a handful of exclusive London pieces, only available in this store.

As a business Ganni has put sustainable elements at its core, having signed the Global Fashion Agenda Circularity Commitment in 2017 and set off on a journey to become more circular by 2020, introducing over 30 sustainable initiatives, some of which are reflected in the new space.

“We are working hard to ensure that we make responsible decisions across all elements of the business and that especially includes our expansion plans,” says Nicolaj. “It’s important to us that with every store we open, we’re being as responsible as we can.”

Certain fixtures and fittings are made from recycled plastic waste, created by design studio Smile Plastics, and display trays are produced from pressed waste fabrics, alongside second-hand upcycled Alvar Aalto stools, and vases made by Danish artists created from single-use plastics.

The store also runs a garment take-back scheme. Customers can drop off clothing and footwear from any brand and in any condition.

“With the take-back scheme we wanted to raise awareness among our community and literally take back the responsibility of extending the lifecycle of clothes and say: ‘we’ve got it from here’,” says Nicolaj. “We’ve partnered with I:CO, which collects and sorts [the dropped off items] into different categories. In some cases they’ll be re-used, recycled or transformed into new fabrics. Then we donate back into I:CO circularity research projects, so it goes full circle.”

The Scandi brand is set to upen stores on the east and west coasts of the US by the end of the year, and with style and sustainability at its core, the #GanniGirl looks set to be going truly global.

Ganni's Soho store

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