Celebrating both old and young
This year Marimekko is celebrating the 50th anniversary of their most iconic pattern, Unikko. Maija Isola’s classic Unikko (Poppy) pattern was born in 1964 shortly after the company’s founder Armi Ratia had announced that Marimekko would never print a floral pattern. Maija refused to obey Armi’s orders and designed an entire collection of floral patterns in protest. She thought that flowers were more beautiful in nature than on fabric. On the other hand, she wanted to create something new that would suit the needs of modern life instead of florals that already dominated the world of textiles. However, designer Maija Isola paid no heed to Ratia’s decree and – perhaps inspired by the poppies growing in her yard – painted red Unikko along with an entire series of floral patterns in protest. Unikko looked new, graphic and distinctive, and once Ratia saw it, she immediately included the design in Marimekko’s collection where it has been ever since, symbolising the power of expression and inspiring people to follow their heart and free their creativity.
Since its introduction, Unikko has been seen in hundreds of different colourways and on a large variety of products, from tableware to bags, and from sneakers to the livery of a Finnair aeroplane. Whether at the height of flower power in the 1960s or in our current days, Unikko has always reflected an easy-going attitude towards life. Over the years the pattern has become like a symbol of Marimekko.
The celebrations of the 50-year-old Unikko will take many forms around the world. A series of Unikko Pattern Places will come to life in spring and autumn 2014, popping up and bringing joy to the daily lives of people in different cities around the world. All the activities can be followed through a dedicated Unikko anniversary website
Also appearing in spring and summer 2014 is Marimekko’s first Kids’ collection — a mix of seasonal novelties and Marimekko’s classic kids’ items, such as Tasaraita (even stripe) shirts and Iloinen takki (happy jacket) dresses. The collection includes clothes, accessories, toys and interior decoration items for kids of different ages. The fun shirts, trousers, dresses, bodies, raincoats and other lovely novelties feature prints from many beloved Marimekko designers, such as Aino-Maija Metsola, Katsuji Wakisaka, Maija Louekari and Maija Isola. The interior decoration line, on the other hand, brings back two lovely gems of Marimekko’s pattern archive as printed fabrics: Rulla (roll) designed by Katsuji Wakisaka in 1981 and Pepe designed by Maija Isola in 1972. The new kids’ collection is all about mixing and matching – cherishing the creativity that is innate in kids and making life a bit more fun, for them and for us adults.