Ditte and Nicolaj Reffstrup met on the dance floor at a party, fell in love, and married seven months later. They’re the Danish duo behind Ganni, one of Denmark’s most renowned fashion labels; the brand has come to be defined by its mix of parties and friends and a laid-back approach to fashion. For its debut coffee-table book, Ganni: Gimme More, the brand tapped New York–based multidisciplinary artist and model Richie Shazam to photograph what it means to be a “Ganni Girl” in the Big Apple.
“Being a creative in New York is such a struggle, making ends meet and being able to support yourself,” Shazam told the Cut. “How does one survive in New York? I’ve been able to do that by wearing 30 different hats. I’m always grinding. I’m always hustling. So the smoke and mirrors of “You’re doing so well” is just me trying to pay my rent and make it work.”
That is Shazam’s definition of the “Ganni Girl”: someone who has built a community, is about her business, and “has her eyes on the prize.”
Shazam’s relationship with Ganni also began on the dance floor, after the label’s 2019 fashion show. It was a “bonding experience” that was unusual for many cold-shoulder fashion events, after which they left Copenhagen feeling inspired and embraced. Since then, Shazam said, it has been “an ongoing conversation and long-term friendship.” In 2020, when Shazam launched a photo series to raise funds for the Marsha P. Johnson Institute and For the Growls to safeguard Black trans lives, Ganni sold the prints on its website to drive donations, telling Shazam, “We want to help you in whatever ways we can to support your artistry as well as the larger causes at hand.”
For their Ganni editorial, Shazam wanted to offer an honest portrayal and depiction of the New York girl crew while shooting over the course of a month, during the height of the pandemic last year. What transpired were documentarian-like depictions of the New York Ganni girls — such as musician Ruby Aldridge, artist Laila Gohar, and skater Yasmeen “Yaz” Wilkerson — at home or in their studios.
“We’re just keeping it real,” Shazam said. “It was a very intimate experience with me and each of my friends in that moment because we were also catching up, spending a few moments photographing but then drinking a coffee. Now being able to see my photos in the book is such an incredible feeling. And it’s inspired me to make a whole book of my photos. That’s what I think would be important — not just for myself but for my community.”