An entrepreneur with impressive ambition, Armi Ratia revolutionized textile design with her company, Marimekko. Marimekko translated literally means “Mary-dress.”
In the wake of a gloomy and depressed post World War II climate, Ratia exploded onto the scene with colorful and fresh fabrics which led her company into a new era filled with hope and new beginnings. Founding the company in 1951, Ratia took textile design in a new direction. By hiring young designers and pushing the boundaries of clothing design not bound by trend, she created a unique brand.
From the very beginning, Marimekko was a company made by women for women. Breaking down boundaries in both art and in life, Ratia was responsible for introducing avant garde designs of female artists like Maija Isola into the Marimekko identity. By the 1960s, bold prints and boxy fashions became the height of fashion in Finland and abroad, launching Marimekko into the international arena.
Today, Marimekko has become a trademark of modern Finnish design and it is because of Armi Ratia’s ability to balance design with fashion that Marimekko has become a timeless company with undying appeal.
Maija Isola (1927–2001)
Her most famous print, Unikko, has become the most recognizable icon of the Marimekko Company.
Maija Isola was a tremendously versatile and bold artist. She interpreted the events of her era from her own unique perspective and foresaw future trends. Her vast body of work includes over 500 prints. Her early work was inspired by nature, and her first prints were created through a photographic process whereby actual plants were projected onto a screen. As she matured, her designs became bolder and less detailed, containing large areas of color. Her travels also played a role in her designs; she spent time in Yugoslavia, Italy and Algeria, incorporating stylistic elements from these varied cultures. These experiences gave her a vast palette from which to draw, and this range is clearly evident in her far-ranging designs.
inside the press area
above linework by Maija Louekari
Maija Louekari & Sami Ruotsalainen
Maija Louekari does her MA studies in design in the University of Art and Design Helsinki, where she graduated BA in interior architecture and furniture design. In her work she wants to combine graphic design and design together. She does illustrations, graphic design and artistic projects. She is interested in people and environment, and gets inspiration from travelling as well as little everyday observations. One of the most important things in her life is music.
Designer for Marimekko
(sorry all bio's were in finnish only)
Nice book on it's history. Get it!