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Marimekko: a Finnish design icon

Article published
18.2.2015 at 07:00
Marimekko’s is an impressive design story that manages to be at the same time both time-proof and able to keep pace with emerging trends.

Bright colours and strong contrasts have always been key hallmarks of the beloved brand. It would be difficult to find a Finn who didn’t run around in a ‘maripaita’ t-shirt as a kid, with either stripes or polka dots, depending on the decade, or one who didn’t use Marimekko’s distinctive textiles in their homes.

Marimekko is based on founder Armi Ratia’s clear vision, and grew to become a fundamental part of Finnish fashion and design history.

Founded in 1949, the business took off with a bang in the 50s and kept gaining speed in the 60s, after Jacqueline Kennedy bought all of seven Marimekko dresses.

After a few quieter decades, Marimekko entered a new, flourishing period in the new millennium. Many gifted new designers have been hired and flagship shops opened all around the world. This winter sees two new Marimekko shops opening in Dubai, for example.

‘Marilaukku’ bags have featured in the biggest fashion glossies, from Vogue to Marie Claire, and Sarah Jessica Parker has been seen wearing a coat designed by Tuula Pöyhönen. Those with individual flair in clothing always await Marimekko’s new collections eagerly.

Spot Finnair’s poppy-patterned aeroplane!

Design co-operation between diverse partners is the byword at the moment. Finnair’s fleet includes two long-haul Airbuses decorated with blue poppies. Moreover, all Finnair aircraft use ‘Marimekko for Finnair’ dinnerware and textiles, which are specially designed for use in aeroplanes.

Some things just stand the test of time. Did you know that Marimekko’s timeless logo was created as early as the 50s, by using the letter ‘m’ of an Olivetti typewriter? Or that the famous poppy pattern reached the ripe old age of 50 last year? Armi Ratia originally stated that Marimekko would never do floral patterns, but things didn’t exactly go that way…

And, of course, Marimekko is present at Helsinki Airport. At Gates 26–27, the shop carries bags and children’s clothing, but also a wide selection of lifestyle products perfect as treats for yourself or as gifts. Welcome to an inspiring shopping experience!