The husband-and-wife team Nicolaj Reffstrup and Ditte Reffstrup transformed Ganni from a stalwart cashmere company to the pinnacle of Scandi cool after taking over the brand and revamping it in the late 2010s. Since then, the Copenhagen-based label hailed for its colorful and fun looks has become a cult favorite of Gigi and Bella Hadid, Jessica Alba, and Emma Roberts, to name just a few. The Ganni bricks-and-mortar store in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, meanwhile, is a hub for downtown tastemakers; when it first opened in 2019, the New York Times dubbed it “the store for grown-up VSCO girls.” Ditte, who has worked as the creative director since 2007, was born and raised in Hirtshals, Denmark. She moved to Copenhagen after high school to work for the Danish fashion house Bruuns Bazaar, and then worked as a fashion buyer for high-end stores such as Pede & Stoffer and Flying A. Her husband Nicolaj joined the business as chief executive officer in 2009—whereupon Ganni began its rebirth.
W caught up with Ditte for a Style Notes interview over Zoom, to pick the brain of a true arbiter of the now. Here, she chats about her engagement ring, favorite pair of Levi’s jeans, and her obsession with Madonna’s Blonde Ambition tour.
What were you wearing yesterday, and why did you decide to wear it?
Yesterday, we actually had a meeting for our pre-spring line. For that collection, we worked a lot with suiting in a new way. So I was wearing one of our suits.
What was your style like as a teenager?
I think it was very much like a teenage mood: up or down and all around. My parents sometimes laughed at me because I looked like a super preppy school girl one day, then I would have a more punk theme going on the next. I really loved dressing up.
What were the other kids wearing when you were growing up?
I come from a very small fishing town and sport was the big thing there—most of my classmates were in sporty clothes. Then denim also was a big thing; I grew up in the Nineties.
What’s your daily uniform?
It’s a bit in line with how I was as a teenager. I still dress very much with the kind of mood I am in.
What’s the best fashion advice you’ve ever received?
My mom said to me, “Don’t take yourself too seriously.”
What is your most prized possession in your closet?
My engagement ring. Nicolaj and I were married after six months [of dating]. Then we found this jewelry maker named Sophie Bille Brahe who was, at that time, training at a bigger jewelry brand. I fell in love with her style. It’s super basic, classic, and simple, but beautiful. I think it’s a funny story that she was the one making it—and then we became friends. Now, if I’m buying jewelry, I’m saving up for her stuff.
What was your first major fashion purchase?
It was actually a pair of Levi’s. I remember how I couldn’t afford them at the time. My mum wouldn’t let me buy them because she thought I’d ruin them in a week or so. That’s also why Levi’s was such a big thing. Working with them was so surreal because Levi’s has been a part of my childhood. It was a subculture where you would always see it. I remember the commercials, I remember the songs they were playing. I also do remember the guy who sold me the pair of Levi’s. I remember how much I was looking forward to wearing them. It was a very big thing.
Favorite fashion moment from pop culture?
Madonna’s Blonde Ambition tour. I loved her music and I love the way she was. Her view on diversity and her way of dressing up was so provocative. It was just a feeling I had when I was a teenager, I remember how I wanted to watch it over and over again. She was so powerful. And the way she dressed then, some of the scenes from that tour were pretty out there. She pushed boundaries.
What is always in your bag?
My phone and my headphones. I take my bike every day to work. I always listen to a podcast or some music. Mostly, there’s candy—I have three kids, so there’s also some of the kids’ stuff.
Who’s your ultimate style icon?
I don’t really have one, but everything I’m super inspired by is my love for the Copenhagen girl and the way she dresses.
Biggest fashion regret?
When I tried to be someone that I was not. I went to this wedding where I thought about the type of people that were going. Then I tried to fit in. I remember how I dressed up way too romantically; I did something and it was just not me. I remember feeling so awkward at the wedding. Trying to be someone that you’re not, I think that’s the worst. Stick to what feels good.