I Won't Shut Up About Ganni. Here's Why:
Updated: Dec 21, 2020
Everyone I know is sick of me. I talk about Ganni at literally every opportunity. I keep their post notifications turned on and I’m subscribed to their mailing list on at least three different email addresses. I’m obsessed.
Why? I’m glad you asked. Here’s a rundown:
When I think of examples of what I consider to be “sustainable” fashion brands, Ganni always jumps to the forefront of my mind and I know I’m not alone in this. However, founders Ditte and Nicolaj Reffstrup (Creative Director & CEO respectively) fundamentally refuse to call Ganni a “sustainable” brand.
Instead, they classify all discussion of sustainability related topics as “responsibility”. That’s because for Ganni, it’s their responsibility as a fashion business to do everything they can to participate in the industry in the best way possible from an environmental, social, and cultural perspective.
I first heard Nicolaj discuss this philosophy on the Business of Fashion’s Drive podcast last year (which you should totally listen to if you haven’t). His reasoning is that since fashion is inherently unsustainable, it wouldn’t be right to market Ganni as a “sustainable” brand because it simply wouldn’t be true.
…A CEO openly acknowledging fashion’s fundamentally unsustainable business structure?? You better work, Nicolaj.
Ok - so they don’t call themselves sustainable. Semantics. Comparatively, though, they really are more sustainable than the average fashion brand by about a mile.
You can access their responsibility reports for all the nitty gritty details, but they’ve been way out ahead of the industry in terms of embracing innovative ways to steer fashion towards circularity.
One good example of this is GANNI Repeat. Available currently in Denmark, the UK, and the US, GANNI Repeat is a line of exclusively rental styles intended purchased, worn, and returned to encourage circular fashion consumption and avoid used garments going to waste.
I don’t necessarily agree with everyone who says that rental is the future of fashion – especially post-pandemic – but this market is definitely going to grow, so it’s not only an ethical move but also allows Ganni to establish itself as a player in the rental game early on.
There’s also something to be said about the brand’s commitment to mid-range/low-luxury pricing. Scandinavian brands have always kind of been famous for bringing top-tier design and aesthetics to the fashion game in general, but they also have a tendency to run up their prices and try to break into the luxury space once they start gaining popularity outside of Northern Europe (I’m looking at you, Acne and Saks Potts).
This is logical from a business perspective and is obviously in line with the trend of luxury fashion increasing in price overall, but Ganni says no.
In response to a questioning of why the team has decided not to hike up Ganni’s prices, in 2018 Nicolaj told Harper’s Bazaar, “We just did it because we felt that it was right. It’s a very democratic, honest price point”.
In addition, Ditte added that, “For me, I don’t want to do that – every time I see a girl wear Ganni, it makes me happy. I want it to be able to appeal to all different kinds of women.”
My heart? Warmed.
On top of all of this good stuff, I mean, Ganni’s clothes are just straight up cool.
So what makes the styles so special?
Creative Director Ditte calls it “3rd wave Scandinavian design” – rather than the typically androgynous or minimalist Scandinavian fashion, there’s also a wave of rebellious maximalism that's coming out of this part of Europe. Ganni is famous for loud prints and clashing clothing items.
I also view Ganni as creating feminist garments, in a way. This is because a lot of Ditte’s inspiration comes from a rejection of stereotypical “style” choices that are decades old and probably have a lot to do with the male gaze rather than women’s taste.
Most symbolically, of course, is the sneaker/maxi-dress combo that Ganni is now so famous for. Why do you have to wear heels to pull off a dress? You don’t.
Ganni is about combining utility and ease with beauty and design – and
these seemingly at-odds principles work so well together for the brand because women combine all of these things in our daily lives too.
Okay. I’m done gushing. Overall, Ganni to me is a celebration of women, our planet, and a rejection of the typical luxury-fashion structure that is toxic for so many reasons.
We don’t want to directly encourage the consumption of new fashion too much at BADLANDS, so I won’t say, “go buy something from Ganni right now”. Instead, get involved with them on Instagram @ganni and @ganni.lab and the next time that you do need to make a fashion purchase, see if anything they carry ticks all the boxes for you.