Can you tell me a little bit about your journey so far – how exactly did you end up where you are today?
It’s definitely been a crazy ride! I moved to Copenhagen after high school to work for the Danish fashion house Bruuns Bazaar and then worked as a fashion buyer before I became a designer. My husband Nicolaj and I took over GANNI in 2009 from a friend and I guess the rest is history!
I’m interested to hear how you define what your job is – creative director is thrown around a lot these days and I’d love to hear what the title means to you?
In my case, the creative part definitely fits the bill. I feel very lucky to be able to dream up collections together with my amazing team, it’s always a collective effort at GANNI. More than ever, it also involves the creative challenge of designing responsibly and working to innovate the process and materials we work with – it’s super exciting!
How do you think your childhood, growing up in the countryside of Denmark, influences the brand and how does it show in your work nowadays?
I grew up in Hirtshals, which is a fishing industry town in the northern part of Jutland in Denmark. You grow a thick skin in an environment like that and learn to work hard. I loved playing football as a kid, it taught me the importance of being in a team, supporting each other and bringing everyone together, which also defines the spirit at GANNI today.
Where do you think your interest in fashion – and impressive knack for tapping into exactly what people are looking to dress like next – comes from? Were you always interested in fashion and style?
As long as I can remember, I have been into dressing up, and loved how you can express yourself through what you choose to wear. That’s what sowed the seeds for me to get into fashion. I never really think about what’s next, it’s all very intuitive for me and more about giving people the feeling that fashion should be fun and a way of feeling confident.
Can you tell me about an early memory of beauty?
The ocean in Hirtshals where I grew up always stands out to me as something I remember finding incredibly beautiful as a child
Describe to me how you see the much adored #GANNIgirl. Can you pinpoint a few things that make her special?
#GANNIgirl is a state of mind more than anything, it doesn’t refer to a certain age group or a polished persona, it is plural and everyone is welcome! It’s all about finding your own expression and feeling like the best version of yourself. It makes me so proud to see such a diverse group of people from all around the world wearing GANNI while marching to the beat of their own drum.
Turning to sustainability: at what point in the story of GANNI did you decide to change course – when and why did it become so important to you that things had to change?
Responsibility has always been important to me and is now a part of everything we do at GANNI. We are acutely aware of how much the industry needs to change but there was never a specific moment where we decided to change everything around – it’s been a step-by-step process of learning and adapting, which is a daily effort.
I admire your determination to be completely transparent about all your ethical choices and solutions in every aspect of your company. It’s incredibly brave and I can’t think of many other brands that equal your honesty. Can you share some of the choices you’ve made in that regard?
Thank you! It didn’t really feel like a question of making choices to us, we have never pretended to be perfect and I think it just came very naturally to us to communicate openly and honestly with our community.
Tell me some of the achievements in sustainability and responsibility so far that you are most proud of ?
I’m super proud of how far we’ve come with using responsible materials. For our Fall Winter 22 collection, almost all RTW styles in the show are classified as ‘responsible’, meaning at least 50% of the composition is certified organic, lower-impact or recycled. That’s massive for us.
As uncomfortable to think about as it is important: what are the trouble areas you are looking to improve on next?
We are always working to be the most responsible version of ourselves and never pretend that we have it all figured out. This year we are looking to find alternatives to virgin animal leather. We’ll be phasing it out completely for 2023 for accessories and have already stopped using it for RTW. Finding alternates for shoes and bags are tricky, but we’re trialing some super cool innovative fabrics, that I’m super excited about
What are some obstacles you’ve run into while trying to maintain your level of ethical production, and where do you look for help and advice?
Responsibility is so multifaceted and the needlepoint is always moving. What’s good in the area, is worse for something else. We’re partnering with amazing companies like Plan A who are carbon reduction experts on circular fashion and provide tons of know-how. Collaboration across the fashion industry is so important.
Are you content with the progress you’ve made so far?
There is always more work to be done but I couldn’t be prouder of what our team has achieved so far!
Where are Ditte and GANNI going – how do you view your universe expanding in the near future ?
We have so many exciting things coming up this year that I can’t wait to share with everyone. I am thrilled about all the possibilities that lie ahead, especially the material innovations. It makes my job as a designer challenging, but at the same time so much more interesting!
In as many words as you’d like : what is your manifesto?
Our “LOVE FOREVER EVER” show for our new collection is probably as close to a manifesto as I can come – make sure you tune in and watch the show.