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My fashion life - Ditte Reffstruppe

The Ganni creative director’s love of east London made it the ideal spot to open the womenswear brand’s first UK pop-up shop.

Ditte Reffstruppe

Ditte Reffstruppe

You opened Ganni’s first UK shop, a six-month pop-up, on Redchurch Street in Shoreditch on August 15. Why did you choose east London?
I love the contrasts the area has to offer. There are so many nice stores there, some higher end and some a little scruffier, in a good way. Everything is popping up there and it’s very inspiring.

It sounds like you know east London well?
Yes, when we come to London we always stay there. I love that you can see so many stylish girls and it’s very ethnically mixed - I really like the diversity. Also, from there you can easily take the tube to somewhere like Holland Park and see the posh places, and I like that contrast.

Why do you think Ganni fits in well there?
Because we are very much about contrasts too. Pairing a tough leather piece with a delicate floral blouse, for example.

Who do you have in mind when you’re designing?
We design very much for ourselves. I would never produce anything that I wouldn’t wear myself so I just try to make sure everything comes from inside me and follow my intuition.

Do you think about catering to a certain age range?
Not really, because today people are dressing very differently. It’s not like if you’re 40 or 50 you can’t wear a short dress anymore, so I think it’s important not to put people into a box. People are freer now.

Brits have a real passion for Danish brands. Why do you think that is?
We’re very similar in the way we dress. We understand each other quite well and have the same fashion aesthetic and the same laid-back casual way of living, so it works really well.

Do Danes think Brits are as cool as Brits think Danes are?
I’ve always been very inspired by Britain. It was a big thing during my teenage years, with Britpop and the fashion of the time. To me, British culture is a mixture of Virginia Woolf and Damon Albarn and that’s very much me too.

How has the brand changed since it launched in 2000?
It was started by one of our friends [gallery owner Frans Truelsen] just doing cashmere T-shirts and when we [Reffstrup and her husband, Ganni managing director Nicolaj Reffstrup] came in 2008 we wanted to become a real fashion house with four collections a year. So we started with two collections and then built it up.

Do you think it’s more important for brands to have pre-collections now?
It’s very important, it gives us a certain dynamic and especially within our own shops it keeps everything moving along.

Where are your own shops?
We have eight in Denmark, two in Norway and two in Germany.

Will you open one permanently in London?
We’d love to. Let’s hope so.

Did you always want to work in fashion?
Yes, it came very naturally. I don’t think I could do anything else.

What inspires you?
That’s a difficult question because it can be so many things. Maybe when I’m riding my bike, taking a snap of a cool girl in her sneakers, listening to music, travelling. It’s a mixture of a lot of impressions coming from everywhere. I can’t sit down and say ‘Now I have to get inspired for my next collection’ - it just happens. I’m always looking and taking things in.

You show at Copenhagen Fashion Week. How has it changed over the past few seasons?
The week is getting stronger and stronger. I have so much respect for the people working on it, they’re really making an effort to tell the world about Danish fashion. You have a lot of actual business going on there, which is great. There are a lot of nice shows and events so it all works really well.

What other designers do you admire?
I know it’s starting to become a cliché because everyone says it, but [creative director of Céline] Phoebe Philo. She is something special, she’s so surprising.

Is surprising your customers a good thing?
It’s good to show people that you know the world is changing, but the most important thing for me is to stick to what I believe in, because I am what I do. If I try to do something else it doesn’t work. It’s really important to do what feels right, or people can see that it’s not for real.

Do you have a standout career moment?
Our show this season at Copenhagen Fashion Week was pretty big [it was set on a tennis court]. It was crazy, we had a great response to it from the press and it was really a good moment for us all.

What’s the next step for Ganni?
We’re planning to open a store in Frankfurt and slowly rolling out our franchise concept. We would like to open more stores but don’t have plans in any other countries yet. It’s just more organic growth really.

  • Wholesale prices for Ganni range from £20 for vests to £180 for leather jackets. Current stockists includes Asos, Atterley Road and Jules B

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