Marimekko, the beloved Finnish lifestyle brand established in the 1950s, continues its widespread success at home and abroad. The company has a strong presence in the United States, operating stores in four cities and an online store across the country.
Marimekko was founded in Helsinki, Finland, in 1951 by Armi Ratia and her husband Viljo, where its unparalleled print fabrics gave it a strong and unique identity. With strong female designers, Ms. Ratia created the foundation for the Marimekko brand, and the story has evolved thereafter in the hands of young designers from generation to the next. The lifestyle brand specializes in fashion, bags, accessories and home décor that bring joy to the everyday life and are known for their bold designs.
In 1959, The Finnish brand made its way to the United States, where Design Research, the revolutionary lifestyle and design store, began to sell Marimekko clothing and fabric. Though Marimekko dresses and textiles were gaining popularity in America throughout the 1950s, the brand took off in the United States when Jacqueline Kennedy bought seven Marimekko dresses for the campaign trail and wore one on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Her purchases made headlines, making Marimekko an overnight sensation.
Today, Marimekko continues to develop new, innovative offerings while updating and printing fabric designs from their extensive archive collection, taking place in its very own in-house printing factory in Helsinki, Finland. An archive collection made up of over 3,500 prints provides inspiration; colors are tweaked to update fabric designs while new prints are commissioned from other designers.
Perhaps the most well known archival prints are the poppy print ‘Unikko’ from 1964 and ‘Tasaraita’ from 1968. To celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2018, Tasaraita has taken a modern spin on its original iconic unisex stripe with its first print on a jersey t-shirt. The print is recognized worldwide for its equal-spaced horizontal stripes that symbolize gender and age equality. 50 years ago passionate battles for equality were being fought around the world. The battle also extended to fashion and decorative arts, bringing to the fore the concept of anonymous design.
Marimekko is much more than just clothing, fabrics and accessories; it is a lifestyle an attitude, a phenomenon with its own philosophy. A vision of everyday happiness, which fascinates people around the globe.
In the U.S., Marimekko currently operates stores in New York City, Boston, Cambridge and Palo Alto. Recent collaborations with Banana Republic, Target, Clinique, and Paperless Post, among others, has brought the beloved Finnish design company into the homes of million more Americans. Learn more about Marimekko in the U.S. here.
Text: Marimekko USA