Currently on display at The Textile Museum of Canada is a comprehensive retrospective, Marimekko, With Love curated by Shauna McCabe.
Marimekko is a Finnish company started in 1952 by an incredibly innovate woman, Armi Ratia. The company is largely recognized for their bold, colorful prints, simple garment silhouettes as well as home furnishings. This exhibit features a wonderfully comprehensive collection of early catalogues, promo shots, films, yardage and dresses, but it is the unique vision of co-founder Armi Ratia that makes the most impact.
A good lesson in being adaptable, Marimekko started after a failed endeavour into the production of oilcloth left Ratia with a factory. Not the type to stay down for long, Ratia invited some graphic designer friends to put their ideas onto fabric challenging the current conventions of fashion and print. This new focus of interest was not so much in economic success but rather a push towards finding a beautiful way to live life, describing Marimekko in 1962 as a “cultural phenomenon that points the way to high-quality living.”
These brave beginnings would be the start of an empire transcending the printed works far beyond simple cotton yardage. The company’s core values are a lovely reminder of Ratia’s lingering spirit : “Living not pretending, Fairness to everyone and everything, Common sense, Getting things done-together, Courage-even at the risk of failure, Joy”
Um yeah. To put it mildly, we were inspired.