How did you two meet?
Ditte: “On the dance floor. We both love to dance and party so that was a promising start. We saw each other the next day and became a couple straight away. Seven months later we got married. We were totally in love, and didn’t tell anyone. To be honest, I checked out the price of a divorce before we tied the knot, just in case. It was cheap and you could apply for it online, so I figured, why not?”
What made you decide to launch GANNI?
Ditte: “Before GANNI I was working as a fashion buyer for a high-end concept store. I remember feeling there was something missing on the fashion scene. I just wanted to create something that reflected the way my friends and I dress. Back in 2009, there were two predominant views of Scandinavian style: boho chic and the Scandinavian minimalism. I just didn’t relate any of that to my own style or the way my friends dressed. So, we decided to create GANNI, full of contrasts and personality – a Scandi style 2.0, if you will. I started out designing a pair of shoes for GANNI before we came onboard. They went down well and I guess we just decided to go for it. We were both quite naive at first.”
Nicolaj: “Frankly, I ended up in it pretty randomly. I tagged along and followed the fun but always wanted to bring my background in tech into building a fashion brand.”
What makes you laugh together, no matter what?
Ditte: “Our kids.”
Nicolaj: “Each other. My wife is super funny and quite entertaining to hang out with. We both have quite a dry sense of humour and can set each other off in a meeting.”
What does creativity mean to you?
Ditte: “For me it’s all about trusting your instincts and going with your gut feeling. It’s also not taking yourself too seriously – if you’re not having fun with it, what’s the point?”
What is one vice you wish you could give up?
Ditte: “My morning cortado.”
Nicolaj: “With running a business in this industry we do have to fly and travel a bit, which weighs heavily on my conscience. We offset our entire carbon footprint as a business, which isn’t an end solution but it sure makes us aware of our impact and helps us track how we bring that number down. In our own time, our summer vacations are always spent in Denmark discovering the countryside and visiting friends – it’s one of the compromises we make.”
What’s inspiring you in life right now?
Ditte: “Seeing our amazing team grow and advance – we have so many talented people working for us, and I really see them as my extended family. I’m also fascinated with masculine and feminine tropes and what it means to be feminine in society today. It’s so multifaceted. I always want to make designs that make people feel the most confident. For me it’s about femininity your own way.”
Nicolaj: “Seeing that more people are starting to act and question the industry about becoming more responsible. It’s something that has played devil's advocate for us ever since we launched. With our business growing, the pace of the industry can make it really challenging to act responsibly, because the whole premise of fashion is built on newness. It’s always made sense to us to try and do things better, so seeing new materials and ways of doing things emerging inspires us to keep pushing, hacking the system and looking for alternatives. This year, we’re launching our GANNI LAB collection which will be as close to impact-free as possible. We’re looking forward to sharing our journey and the challenges along the way.”
What did you both want to do with your lives at age 13?
Nicolaj: “As a kid, I was either playing sports or had my head buried in a book. I dreamed of leaving my town as soon as possible to become either a professor or a mayor. It’s not that I had a particular city or academic discipline in mind. I think I was just drawn to learning more about things.”
Ditte: “When I was younger, I actually wanted to be a professional football player! I spent a lot of time on the soccer field, but I quickly got swept up in the world of fashion and dreamed of leaving my hometown to work with design and express my creativity.”
What’s a surprising struggle that comes with being a designer?
Ditte: “Sometimes it can feel like the fashion market is highly competitive and super fragmented. So, not looking at what everyone else is doing around you can be a struggle. As soon as you take your eye off the ball you drop it. I simply try not to think too much about what other brands are doing and just and have fun with it, especially with the current pace of the business. I don’t worry about everyone else, but I keep my eyes on GANNI. I love what I do, and couldn’t imagine working with anything else.”