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Timeless design for a better tomorrow
Fashion Revolution is a global movement promoting a more sustainable and transparent fashion industry and better working conditions.
In the spirit of this important initiative, we offered you a chance to ask us about sustainability. You asked, we answered.
About our suppliers
Who makes your clothes and are they paid enough for their work?
Our products are manufactured by a skilled partner supplier network of around 75 suppliers and 100 factories. Almost 70% of our products are made in Europe. All our suppliers are committed to our sustainability requirements in accordance with our Supplier Code of Conduct, which includes the principle of fair remuneration that is sufficient to provide the workers with a decent living and meet the worker’s and his/her family’s basic needs. You can find the Supplier Code of Conduct and a list of our suppliers here.
Why are Marimekko clothes so expensive?
The final price of the product is determined by several factors, such as design, quality and quantity of materials and components used, technical details, production location and production amounts. The price also includes cost elements that are used to cover, for example, the maintenance of Marimekko’s store network, transportation, marketing expenses and salaries.
Are the workers making the clothes paid a living wage? Is the safety of the workers ensured?
All our suppliers are committed to our sustainability requirements in accordance with our Supplier Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct includes the principles of occupational health and safety, as well as fair remuneration that is sufficient to provide the workers with a decent living and meet the worker’s and his/her family’s basic needs. Compliance with the requirements is monitored through factory visits by Marimekko employees and factory audits conducted by independent auditors. We also promote the topic of a living wage through collaborative industry initiatives such as the amfori BSCI.
Is it really impossible to make clothes in Finland?
Marimekko’s product range is wide, and the production of many products requires expertise and knowhow that is unfortunately no longer available in Finland – or not available with a capacity that is suitable for our needs. Our objective is to always find the best manufacturing place for each product category and, irrespective of the location, we choose our suppliers carefully. The design and product development of our products still take place in Finland.
Much of your production is in developing countries, do you find that sustainable?
Almost 70% of Marimekko’s products are manufactured in Europe. Our objective is to always find the best manufacturing place for each product category and, irrespective of the location, we choose our suppliers carefully. This is to make sure that our products are manufactured in accordance with our values – respecting the people and the environment. We aim at developing long-term relationships with our suppliers and with some of our partners we have collaborated for more than 20 years.
About materials & production
How do you work with the line between creating products and preventing overconsumption?
Marimekko has never been about disposable fashion. We want to offer products that bring long-lasting joy to our customers’ everyday lives – products that they will not want to throw away and that can be used on different types of occasions. Our collections are well-thought-out, and it is essential for us that the items from various collections can be mixed and matched together.
What is the cost structure in your clothes, and how do you minimize fabric waste in production?
Minimizing fabric waste starts from the design – we reduce the amount of cutting waste by carefully considering the use of the print design, its positioning on the fabric and the size of the products to be made from the same fabric. Some of our purses are made of leftover fabric, and we are starting to use more recycled materials, which can also be made from cutting waste. The final price of the product is determined by several factors, such as design, quality and quantity of materials and components used, technical details, production location and production amounts. The price also includes cost elements that are used to cover, for example, the maintenance of Marimekko’s store network, transportation, marketing expenses and salaries.
How are the products being dyed?
We have our own printing factory in Helsinki, where we print around one million meters of fabric per year, using mainly reactive dyes. Also, yarns and fabrics are dyed at our suppliers’ factories. Dyeing and printing require different chemicals and substances, the use of which is strictly regulated in the EU and in our other markets. We follow, and require our suppliers to follow, these strict requirements and perform testing regularly to ensure this.
Just wondering how you deal with your dead stock?
We have our own network of outlet stores, through which we sell any unsold items from previous seasons – our outlet assortment is now available online, too. If material remains from fabrics purchased for our collections, we use the leftover materials, for example as special products for our campaigns like friendship sales. We also sell leftover fabrics in our outlets.
Where does the cotton and viscose you use come from?
The cotton used in our products comes from different parts of the world, for example from India, Pakistan, Brazil and the United States. 88% of the cotton we use is more sustainably farmed Better Cotton. We do not currently accept cotton from Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in our products due to the human rights violations related to cotton production in these countries. The majority of our viscose comes from German and Austrian viscose suppliers. In addition, viscose materials are sourced, for example, from Italy, China and South Korea.
Does Marimekko calculate CO2 emissions from its suppliers?
We aim at continuously reducing the emissions from our operations. In our own printing factory in Helsinki, we use mostly renewable energy and have managed to reduce emissions by 80% since 2010. We have started to map our CO2 footprint in more detail, including the emissions from our suppliers’ factories. Of our roughly 75 direct suppliers, almost 80% are wholly or partially using renewable energy sources. We are working on setting new emission reduction targets for our in-house operations and the supply chain and aim to have the objectives ready later in 2020.
(How) are you implementing a closed-loop solution?
Our priority is to extend the life cycle of our products. We want to offer designs and materials that stand up to time and use and to facilitate the resale of our products through our cooperation with the second-hand retailer Vestis in Finland. We also plan to increase the use of recycled materials and are exploring totally new, more sustainable materials. Achieving a closed-loop solution requires continuous work, and we strive to improve – step by step!
Which material is the most sustainable yet easy to maintain?
There is no one right answer to this question. For us, one key criterion when choosing materials is that they are durable and enable the products to be used for a long time. We also want to support consumers in taking proper care of the products – for care tips have a look at our care guide.
Do you follow the fashion trends when you plan the upcoming collections?
Timelessness is at the core of our design philosophy. Our aim is to make designs that stand the test of time and are still relevant to today’s consumers. It is also important to us that consumers can mix and match items from different collections.
Many brands reintroduce older collections / second hand – would love to see you do it too!
Thank you for the idea! Our collections continuously seek inspiration from our archival prints and styles. As part of our collections, we have brought to life signature Marimekko pieces, for example, from the 1960s and the 1970s. We also have our own network of outlet stores, through which we sell any unsold items from previous seasons – our outlet assortment is now available online, too. To facilitate the resale of second-hand Marimekko products, we cooperate in Finland with the second-hand retailer Vestis.
I have some vintage prints – they are in mint condition and quite lovely! What to do?
Great to hear that the products have lasted through time and use! Our wish is that if the first owner no longer uses the items, they would be passed on to the next users – Marimekko products are very popular in the second-hand market!