As the Ganni x Barbour collaboration hits stores, Danish creative director Ditte Reffstrup talks about sustainability, Ganni’s “fun” approach to fashion, and her enduring love of Kate Moss’s Glastonbury style
In August, as the sun set on a harbour at Ofelia Plads in Copenhagen, Ganni staged their Spring/Summer 2023 show. Titled Joyride, the collection was a joyous, sometimes frenetic ode to the Danish capital in summertime, girlpower, and biking. Out of all the looks – carefree, comfortable party dresses and casual, denim daywear paired with cowboy boots – there were two that stood out most, at least to a discerning Brit; two jackets made in collaboration with Barbour in deep olive hues (one of which was worn with a sexy, party-ready outfit; a sheer, sparkly top, wrap denim miniskirt, and knee high cowboy boots). The pairing was unexpected – after all, what do Ganni and Barbour have in common? – yet the Danish brand has a fruitful history of bringing their fun-loving, Scandi disposition to other brands; past collaborations have included Levi’s, Juicy Couture, Ahluwalia, and more.
“At Ganni, we have this small collab group where everything is allowed and you can dream big,” says creative director Ditte Reffstrup at a dinner held in east London’s Bistrotheque to celebrate the collaboration. “Someone mentioned Barbour and everyone we were like, ‘For sure, but they’re never gonna say yes. Let’s try.”
First established by John Barbour in South Shields in 1894, Barbour originally provided outerwear for fishermen, sailors and mariners to protect them from the worst of the British weather – making it a utilitarian brand at heart, although in later years, it became more synonymous with notions of Englishness and the British countryside. “For me, it was such an iconic brand, especially when you think about British heritage,” says Ditte, who is wearing a knee-length wax brown Burghley jacket from the collaboration, paired with red Ganni cowboy boots. “It’s worn by royalty but also by the everyday man. It feels democratic, it’s affordable. I love when fashion is like that.”
Launching today, the Ganni x Barbour nine-piece mainline collection consists of wax jackets, skirts, quilted jackets and bucket hats in Barbour’s signature earthy tones, all stamped with a loud, zingy green logo announcing the collaboration. “Barbour has been super easy to work with, because they have such an iconic product,” Ditte says. “It’s like a good recipe, you know, you don’t really need to add much – just a little bit of flavour.” There is also a ‘Re-loved’ line, which keeps with Ganni’s sustainable ethos. “We have this saying when we’re doing a collab: it has to have a responsible and sustainable angle or else we cannot do it,” she explains. The result is 50 upcycled Barbour outerwear pieces that have been updated with Ganni embroidery, patches, and oversized, colourful collars.
As for the inspiration behind the collaboration, Ditte is a diehard fan of British style; she cites the fabled images of Kate Moss at Glastonbury in the 2000s, stomping through the mud with her then-boyfriend Pete Doherty. “British style was a big thing for me because I was a teenager in the 90s, and the whole Britpop wave was so big,” says Ditte, who insists she was a ‘Blur girl’ rather than an Oasis girl (in reference to the bands’ legendary rivalry). “Trainspotting was a huge inspiration, and my sister moved to London when she was 16 years old. I remember seeing people on the street ... the way they were able to mix sportswear, and the whole vintage thing. Where I come from, there was only one thrift shop in the city.”
As for the question of what Ganni is bringing to Barbour, Ditte is optimistic in her vision. “We have this approach that fashion needs to be fun,” she says. “You can see even through the roughest time or depression, people still have that need to express themselves somehow, and I think that is when fashion makes sense.”
The Barbour x Ganni collaboration is available to shop now.