Since Thursday night where Ganni wrapped up three days of fashion shows at Copenhagen Fashion Week, the brand has become subject to international attention. This time not due to general “Ganni Girl” hype, but because the AW19 show “Life on Earth” was called out as “tone-deaf” after a rather problematic set design. Before and during the show, held in a HDR film studio, photos from “Earth” were displayed on enormous screens around the runway, with “Earth” meaning mostly pictures from the Global South. The reportage work by photojournalist Amy Vitale was, we later learned from creative director Ditte Reffstrup’s apology, meant to “portray the diversity and connectivity we share on this planet.” Unfortunately, using images of children and women from countries that suffer from western fashion fetish as exotic background to a Scandi show was a huge disconnect.
As Anaa Nadim Saber, the blogger who first called out Ganni, pointed out, it is worrying how the show ever got approved. The disproportion seemed obvious, and that no one has waved a red flag is hard to fathom. Generally everything seemed quite detached. In the press release it was stated that “there is a feeling in the collection of stepping from the city into nature.” This expression felt very symptomatic for the show, as if nature is a room we can enter, “step into”, and leave again when we’ve gathered inspiration and materials. Despite the title “Life on Earth” the perspective was overly human-centric. The screens showed images of grassing horses, cows and goats, men connecting with elephants and rhinos; portraits serving the purpose of celebrating close relations between species. As such, there was a great deal of dissonance between this and all the leather on the runway. Boots and bags, shirts and skirts, long sleeved gloves and dresses; leather played a significant role in most of the looks. Combined with very illustrative elements like a big sequin planet, leopard prints and floral prints, “Girls on Top” slogans and knitted yin and yang signs it all felt quite off.
Ganni has often and openly expressed desire towards a more responsible industry, which we more than welcome. But if we want to do better for the planet we must keep in mind that the climate crisis is a structural crisis and should be treated as such. Buying indulgence through carbon credits is good but not enough. It seems as if the Ganni Girl lost her innocence that night, in an industrial building in Amager. And maybe that suits her okay, with a little weight to balance out the floral dresses.
Words by Ulrikke Bak
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