24 Hours With… GANNI’s Ditte Reffstrup
Since joining the brand in 2009, creative director Ditte Reffstrup has turned Copenhagen-based label GANNI into a global fashion force, with Reffstrup’s signature brand of relaxed, irreverent cool becoming the go-to garments for GANNI girls around the world. To celebrate Browns’ exclusive GANNI capsule, we asked Ditte to take us through 24 hours in her stylish world...
What time do you wake up and where?
We have three kids so I don’t need to set an alarm - our two-year-old is our alarm clock and wakes at around 6am. We recently moved into our forever house in the Copenhagen neighbourhood of Østerbro. It’s super green around there, and I recently had my kitchen done and I love hanging out there.
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
I’ll make myself my morning cortado - I can’t function without it! I can easily have two before I leave the house in the morning.
Do you have any pets?
No pets - three kids is enough.
What does your average day look like?
No two days look the same. Some days I spend all my days in meetings, talking to teams and discussing directions, fits and all other things design-led. Others we can be immersed in creative inspiration for collections and the ideas are flowing and the energy is bouncing around – it is so inspiring. Every day is different - that’s why I love what I do.
Do you have any rituals?
Aside from my morning coffee, I’d say getting dressed is my ritual. It’s all about my mood. Some days I’ll be super practical and pragmatic in my choice of clothes. I bike everywhere – I like to layer things up and almost always wear flats or sneakers. I usually start off with one piece, and then build the rest of my outfit around that piece. Another one would be trying to limit my time on Instagram, because it can be so time consuming, but I love following all our community posts and comments. I also love a monthly facial - that is about as high maintenance as I get.
Where is your studio located and how do you get there?
I bike everywhere. I don’t have a driver's license and until last year Nicolaj and I never had a car. My 20 minute bike ride to and from work is my “me” time; I love putting on a good playlist and switching off. I love to take things in. It’s the small things. We moved into our new office GANNI House just before lockdown happened and I love it so much.
How would you describe what you do?
I started out designing at GANNI with the desire to make the people who wear our clothes feel like the most confident versions of themselves. That is still at the heart of what I do today. I want people to have fun with fashion. GANNI is all about the feeling of dressing for yourself and nobody else and wearing it your own way.
How has your background influenced who you are today?
I grew up in the small town Hirshals in the part of Denmark called Jutland. It’s a fishing village by the sea. You won’t find it in any tourist guide, but I think it’s beautiful in it’s own way. When I grew up almost everyone had relatives involved in the fishing industry in some way. I think that mentality definitely shaped me. You grow a thick skin in an environment like that, and you learn to work hard. The mentality was that nothing is certain, and you aren’t entitled to anything. If you don’t put in the effort, you won’t be going anywhere. I loved playing football as a kid and it always taught me the importance of being in a team, making everyone equal, supporting each other and bringing everyone together.
How did you get your start in fashion?
When I was a teen I just wanted to get to the city so I moved to Copenhagen and started working for a brand called Bruuns Bazaar. I later became a buyer for a high end concept store. I learned so much about dressing women from being in buying. A few years later a friend of mine, the founder of GANNI, asked if I wanted to help him design a few styles. I was quite naive at first - the first thing I designed for GANNI was a pair of suede shoes and they became quite popular. So it all started there.
Who has had the most formative influence on your practice?
I don’t really have a muse or a single person I always look to. I am inspired by all the badass girls I see every day on the streets of Copenhagen or in cities like Paris, London and New York when I am travelling. I love seeing all the girls in the office style our collections. We are a mostly female team, and I find it so inspiring to see how everyone wears the collection so differently. Whether that’s more formal, sporty, sexy or tomboyish.
What are the most important factors in your work?
I always go with my gut feeling.
GANNI’s success story has been incredible. What advice would you give to other brands hoping to replicate your success?
Our aim has always been to keep our integrity and be authentic. I think a lot of people can relate to that. Over the past few years, we've grown but we're still a Copenhagen brand with a global outlook.
Whilst working, where do you go and what do you do to take a break?
At lunchtime, my team and I always like to take lunch together in the office. We have a vegetarian lunch every day. Then later, I will walk to Sonny’s and grab a juice - I love walking down the cobbled streets and seeing the old houses near the canal. Maybe I’ll pick up some flowers on my way home.
Do you have a favourite piece from your latest collection?
It’s hard to pick a favourite from our Browns collection but I love the t-shirt in white with a pink smiley that says ‘Please Recycle’. It’s such good vibes. And I always love our classic seersucker dress - it’s so effortless and easy to wear.
Who is the ultimate GANNI girl?
For me, there isn’t just one type of GANNI woman or persona. When it comes to designing, I always want to make everyone who wears us feel the most confident version of themselves. We've grown up slightly over the past ten years, but I still love to add an element of the unexpected, to keep things fun. GANNI is all about the feeling of dressing for yourself and nobody else and wearing us your own way. I think so many people can relate to that.
What’s on your bookshelf right now?
With three kids under ten, I don’t get a lot of time to read, so I listen to a lot of podcasts and radio to keep myself informed. I love flicking through Apartamento magazines and coffee table books – I am loving our friend Frederik Bille Brahe’s lockdown recipe book.
What do you usually do for dinner?
Nicolaj and I love cooking. We love having guests over for dinner at the weekend and hanging out in the kitchen. We love anything italian or pasta-based. It’s just so easy and delicious! My favourite relaxed Copenhagen restaurants are Hos Fischer or Mangia.
What time do you go to bed?
Last thing you do before you sleep?
I am a super light sleeper. My mind is always going – so I often have trouble falling asleep. On top of that we have three kids who wake up very early every day, so sleep is not something I get a lot of! I’ll try to watch something slow to switch off - I was loving My Brilliant Friend on HBO. I always wash my face and try to not look at my phone before going to bed.
What do you dream about?
At the moment, I can’t stop thinking about our fashion week experience, so I end up dreaming about it too! This year, after the past few months we’re rethinking things in the industry as it’s changing. It’s not the same nerves and buzzy feeling as doing a show, but I’m really excited about doing things differently and channelling all those emotions and positive vibes into a high-energy experience!
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