While some might argue that 2020 is off to a rocky start, one brand opted to start the decade on a hopeful note. At GANNI's Fall/Winter 2020 runway show at Copenhagen Fashion Week, the mood was high: Rather than a DJ'd dance party in the rain like last season (which many attendees worried might be a difficult act to follow), the Danish womenswear brand staged a youthful, accessibly styled show in a skate park bursting with energy and color, with a little help from the night's set designer and longtime GANNI collaborator Ana Kras. "I hope [the show is starting the year] with a very positive energy and a hope for the future, and we really wanted to put love, energy, hope, and inspiration into the show," GANNI co-founder and creative director Ditte Reffstrup tells The Zoe Report.
In fact, alongside the clothes themselves, the label — which has become somewhat of a case study of millennial marketing and runaway global success — kicked off a year-long collaboration effort with a diverse group of 20 women across creative fields from sound design to handicrafts, essentially all creative women that GANNI creative director Ditte Reffstrup feels inspired and connected to. Some of these are the aforementioned longtime friends of the house, and others found on Instagram just two weeks ago, like Hayley Blomquist, a New-York based plastic artist that creates works out of plastics she finds in the city.
Through this initiative, Reffstrup aims to see the good in the hyperconnected, turbulent times we're living in and instead acknowledge that we're actually more in touch with one another than ever, and that can lead to inspiring collaboration and longtime connection that maybe could not be as easily facilitated or maintained sans social media.
"We talked about how when we were kids and we weren't able to keep in contact with people because if you changed schools or went on holiday and met a new friend you'd write a few letters and then be done with it," Reffstrup explains. "That's the beauty of all the social networking — you're able to keep in touch with people 24/7 all over the world and at the same time, we feel we've never been more disconnected, in a way. But I wanted to take the beauty of it and the power that you can actually reach out to people on the other side of the earth and do something together, which is what we did." Surely, it feels timely to try and look at the bright side of it all. "I feel that working together across all creativity is just making us better," she adds.
Upcycling — a major part of Copenhagen Fashion Week's DNA — is at the forefront of many of GANNI's creative projects this year. In fact, there are woven rugs and tank tops made with fabric scraps for sale at the brand's Kiosk pop-up. "For 202020 project GANNI is challenging creatives to work with responsible materials aiming to reuse and recycle existing GANNI materials from previous season collections in interesting ways to create unique and one-of-a-kind products," the brand states in a press release. Is this enough of an effort to keep up with some of the more heavy-hitting sustainability initiatives by Scandi competition? The husband-and-wife duo plans to continue cooking up plans and collaborations at the Global Fashion Agenda summit which takes place in Copenhagen, where they can compare notes with like-minded labels.
As for the collection, which focused on the meeting of both practical closet pieces and cool-girl signatures the brand's become known for, showing a classic GANNI clash of black lug-sole boots, gently-worn denim, oversized knits, sparkling dresses, and even a new leather version of its famous ruffled peasant collar. Plus, many of the looks were topped off with crocheted berets, which GANNI seems to be betting on as the cool-girl accessory we'll be seeing everywhere come Autumn. "We did the first white cotton blouse with [ruffles] in our '17 collection and I think it's so cool that we're still doing them, and in this collection, you saw them in so many different variations," Reffstrup explains.
Overall, GANNI's continuing to operate inside its own team-focused, (not-so) little world despite its exponential growth in the states and beyond, having opened multiple stores stateside in just the past year. The grace with which it's all been accomplished is a testament to staying focused on the brand's foundation. "We have a very deep core DNA at GANNI, but at the same time there are so many new people and players on the team and I really feel like we've become so much stronger. Because we've kind of opened up more internationally we've brought so many more people into GANNI it feels like the team really has a high energy and lots of creativity and fun and hope," she says. Reffstrup explained that the new retail insights and international expansion aren't really informing what she's making or designing. "We only want to do what we feel is right, because I feel if you're trying to be someone that you're not, or trying to do something for someone that you think they may like, I think you get lost."
It may seem ignorant to keep your blinders on at a time like 2020, but brand- and design-wise, it's seemed to work out mostly positively for GANNI over the last decade. "What do think the 20's [sic] are gonna be like?" was the question GANNI posted between its invitation and its afterparty, and according to brand, it's looking hopeful, collaborative, and female-focused — all ideas we think GANNI's fans, collaborators, and customers can wholly support.