In August, cult fashion brand Ganni used its slot on the Copenhagen Fashion Week calendar to press refresh on the traditional way of doing things. Instead of putting on a runway show, Ditte and Nicolaj Reffstrup, the brand’s creative director and founder, respectively, held a three-day exhibition. Music was played, essays were read, and clothing made out of archive Ganni collections was sold. The exhibition was also used as a platform for a big announcement: Ganni teaming up with heritage denim brand Levi’s on a capsule collection of rented denim. Now, every piece of hand-sourced archival denim — which the designers transformed to fit the Danish brand’s popular aesthetic — is available for rent as part of Ganni Repeat.
The collaboration is made up of three versatile pieces: patchwork jeans, bubble-sleeve snap-up shirt with an XXL collar, and snap-up mini dress. What you receive in the mail won’t be identical to the delivery for your fellow #GANNIGirl; depending on where the pair you rent is in the denim lifecycle, it could have more rips or be more faded than others — which is all part of the charm. As Reffstrup says, “The beauty of denim is it just gets better over time.” You probably won’t style the pieces the same, either. Both the shirt and the dress can be worn oversized or cinched using a detachable snap-on belt. They can be styled open or closed, tucked-in or loose, sleeves flowing or buttoned up, with the collar attached or detached. Even the jeans include two separate button-flies, one that’s designed for low-rise styling and the other for high-rise.
As someone who’s spent many hours in thrift shops and flea market stalls searching for a pair of Levi’s that fits, is worn in (but not too worn in), and doesn't cost me an arm and a leg — as well as is a fan of Ganni — this seemed too good to be true. I had to try them. Upon slipping on the Ganni Repeat jeans for the first time, though, I was hooked. All of my vintage Levi’s have either been too big in the waist, thus leaving a gap in the back (you know the one), or too tight in the thigh and butt area. I’ve lost count of the many pairs I’ve ripped from trying to compromise on fit in one area just to get it right in another. To remedy that, these have a standard button-fly closing and an asymmetric one that allows for a tighter fit in the waist. (The asymmetric buttons, along with the patchwork details, check off two of the most popular denim trends.) Worn up high, the rise pairs perfectly with a tucked-in button-down, T-shirt, or tank top. Slouched, you can style them with an oversized sweater or a vintage tee. I chose the former, wearing the jeans tighter with a tucked-in white shirt. For one look, I tucked the hems into a pair of hunter green lug-soled rain boots. For another, I went classic with Gucci loafers.
I wore the Ganni Repeat Western-style shirt untucked, over a collared shirt, though it can also be worn solo, as a shacket, with a black, pleated mini skirt and ankle boots (pictured below). Like the jeans, the shirt and dress are made of patchwork denim, with one side being a lighter wash than the other, and the collar a dark denim that contrasts with its ruffled, light wash piping. Unlike the jeans, though, both are more statement pieces than staples, making them perfect for a rental program like this one. Wear them a few times, and then send them off in the RePack that every Ganni Repeat package arrives in. “Just like your Ganni x Levi’s piece, I can be reused again and again, so don’t forget to return me,” the bags have written on them. (According to the press release, by choosing reusable packaging over single-use packaging, up to 80% of C02 emissions can be saved.)
Ganni and Levi’s also teamed up with SharpEnd, a connective experience agency, to allow renters to unlock the history of each piece and discover which #GANNIGirls rented it before them. (Renters can opt out of the latter if they don’t want their information shared with the next person.) Along with the pieces, wearers will each receive a video welcome, as well as a “love letter” from Ditte Reffstrup. They will also gain access to exclusive content including campaign shoots, style inspiration, and content created by previous renters. Like the #GANNIGirls community, which has over 50k posts from self-proclaimed members around the world, this collection was designed to bring people together, even in a pandemic. Think: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
To try the Ganni x Levi’s rental program, choose your items (you can rent for one, two, or up to three weeks), and pay the £40 to £65 per week fee. (Jeans cost £40 per week, while the shirt costs £65 and the dress costs £65 per week.) Who knows? Maybe, along with your new favourite pair of recycled denim, you’ll also get a (digital) note from the last wearer, à la Lena, Bridget, Carmen, and Tibby, from some far-off destination around the world.