The Marimekko philosophy: Designing past the now

The Marimekko philosophy

It was never about fast fashion. The Marimekko design philosophy is rooted in an optimistic lifestyle – and a genuine desire to inspire through timeless and functional design.

By turning apparel, accessories, and home décor into vibrant expressions of joyful living, our anti-fashion attitude spurred one of the world’s first genuine lifestyle brands.

We are printmakers at heart, aspiring to bring objects to life that are used and loved for generations. Because of their timeless appeal and because each product is carefully made to last.

As they mix new ideas with historic inspirations from our archive, our designers and visiting artists aren’t creating for a particular nowness. Instead, they seek to capture the spirit of Marimekko that’s still contemporary after all these years and instantly recognizable across generations.

Marimekko’s clothing design was a source of enchantment and provocation around the world. Photography by Tony Vaccaro, 1964

“Marimekko is not about trending fashion. We make timeless and lasting products, which, by chance, are often very fashionable.”

— Armi Ratia, Founder of Marimekko

The dress that shaped generations of women
Much like the rest of post-war Finland, much of women’s fashion in the 1950s was monochrome and uninspired. Clothes were physically restrictive and stylishly subdued, but underneath it all, there was a bubbling desire for change The abstracts patterns, architectonic shapes, and vibrant colors of the Marimekko dress proved a perfect recipe for free-spirited women of all ages and sizes. And it did not take long for the rest of the world to catch on to the progressive Finnish brand with the unmistakable prints. The rest, as they say, is history..
Creating through community

Creating through community

Experimenting with print techniques and exploring new ideas, doing things together has always been the path to innovation at Marimekko. Inside our printing factory, artists and designers work side by side with skilled craftsmen and women in a shared pursuit of originality.
Left: Show your true colors! Rainbow equality Tasaraita print. Right: Timeless, yet never standing still. The Unikko pattern has boasted nearly a hundred different colorways over the years.
Our thriving creative community is based on inviting creatives to collaborate and work with us. In everything we do, we whole-heartedly believe in the power of community.
Our original prints and bold colors have always been intended for those marching to the beat of their own drum.

Perfect imperfections

Inside our printing factory on the outskirts of Helsinki is where the iconic Marimekko prints come to life. From the very beginning, blown-up multi-layered prints in vibrant colors have been the hallmarks of our designs.

Each artist has their own method of translating ideas and visions into sketches. Many paint or draw by hand, some work digitally, while others use photographs, paper cuts, or dried plants. No matter the method, the human touch – perfectly imperfect – is always visible in a Marimekko print.

Overlapping colors and unexpected shades are signatures of Marimekko printmaking.
Overlapping colors and unexpected shades are signatures of Marimekko printmaking.
Inclusivity happens when we dare to color outside the lines
From encouraging positive empowerment and celebrating anti-elitist design, inclusivity and equality have always been at the heart of Marimekko. Be true to yourself and express your creativity! This was Armi Ratia’s dream for her customers, and it continues to be our message today. It’s also a message that resonates throughout our organization as we remain committed to allowing every individual to shine, regardless of gender, age, or self-identification.
Born out of the flower power revolution, Unikko has proven it’s timeless appeal by transcending shifting fads and fashions since 1964.