How Embracing Bolder Prints Made Ganni a Viral Sensation

Christian Vierig/Getty Images; Adam Katz Sinding

Copenhagen’s fashion label built for two wheels takes off.

Ganni, the popular Copenhagen-based clothing brand, is emblematic of how Danish designers have turned their city’s breezy lifestyle into a new fashion code. For Ganni’s creative director, Ditte Reffstrup, who took over the company in 2009 with her husband, Nicolaj, the idea was to ditch the Scandi-minimalist uniform for brighter colors and bolder prints.

Ganni has managed to gain a rabid following among women who like to wear the clothes while riding a bike or posing on Instagram. (You can shop for them at Ganni’s concept stores in Scandinavia or on net-a-porter and matchesfashion.com.) In fact, a group of local influencers, including Pernille Teisbaek, Emili Sindlev, and Jeanette Madsen, helped turn the brand into a viral sensation, filling their feeds with images of themselves modeling the label’s looks. In a recent post, Madsen lounged in a leopard-print wrap dress. The Ganni dress she wears is romantic but neither formal nor revealing. “My followers love it when I’m wearing dresses, because it’s so easy to picture themselves in them,” says Madsen.

Reffstrup seems faintly bewildered by how the brand’s viral power has turned them into a global phenomenon. (French luxury conglomerate LVMH bought 51 percent of the company last year.) “We never had an Instagram strategy,” she says. “We just followed our gut and worked with girls we admire.”