I remember the first time I heard about the fabric prints of Marimekko. A friend had found some vintage Marimekko prints at the Salvation Army and was so excited to tell me about it. Later Margaret gave those prints to me for my collection and I’m so thankful that she did. Since those fabrics were laid in my hands I have been in love with all things Marimekko.
SIDE NOTE: “Husband – if we weren’t saving for the South Africa trip our whole house would be filled with pieces from this collection. Luckily on a recent visit to my favorite design shop I was able to keep SA in mind and stay on task while looking for a gift for a baby shower. The store no longer carries cool little baby kit but I still managed to walk out with some Marimekko wrapping paper and a lovely little card.”
Marimekko is a Finnish company that was founded in 1951 by a husband and wife team, Viljo and Armi Ratia. In the beginning the couple owned Printex, a textile company producing oilcloth and printed fabrics. Armi Ratia had asked her artist friends to apply their graphic designs to the failing companies textiles. The bold patterns and organic designs were innovative and eye catching but the company continued to struggle. In an effort to give onlookers ideas of how to use the fabrics Armi Ratia developed a small clothing collection and started a separate company – Marimekko Oy.
The first store was opened in 1952 and with the 60’s there was an international surge of popularity for Marimekko. Through the 70’s the company continued to expand in production, introduced various products and worked with numerous designers to modernize and build on the brand. After the death of Armi Ratia in 1979 the 80’s saw the sale of the company and by the end of the decade Marimekko was on the verge of bankruptcy.
In 1991 Kirsti Paakkanen purchased the company and brought Marimekko to where it is today. Launching several Marimekko concept stores, worldwide exhibitions, increased exports, updated production, a wider product range and a stronger Marimekko brand.
“The essence of Marimekko products are not his strength but his creativity where ideas are born that materialize in the form of products…”