What inspires Marimekko’s collections?
EK: Something that has always been super important is the people – the people with whom you create the collections and the people around you. We very much create collections together as a community, and so that’s something that always inspires us.
SM: Another aspect is architecture. That has been there throughout the decades, and I would say that many of Marimekko’s patterns are very architectural.
Sustainability was a key focus for Armi Ratia right from the beginning, and is something that remains crucial to the company today. Can you tell us about Marimekko’s ethos of sustainability?
EK: Sustainability has always been important for us, every day. While we of course follow what’s happening around us, we focus on timeless and beautiful design, instead of being too trendy.
SM: We believe that the products of tomorrow leave no trace, and that’s a part of our sustainability strategy that we really focus on. It’s about creating something that lasts for a long time, and then goes back to the planet.
EK: In each collection, we bring in new and more sustainable ways to create prints, and we are always led by that.
SM: It’s one of our main goals at the moment. Everything starts with it, every decision. At the designer’s table, if we have two options to choose from, we always choose the more sustainable one. Fairness and equality are also an important part of this subject. Who we work with, and what kinds of factories and production places we use, is super important.
EK: It’s also in-house. It’s very much a community that we have. Inside the company but also outside – everything is equally important.
SM: Another thing to mention, which is our speciality, is cutting tactics. We really think carefully about how we place the patterns on top of prints, so that we leave as little waste as possible.
EK: There are a lot of mathematics in designing!
SM: Exactly, and sometimes we make products where the purpose is that each and every one is unique, and it leaves nothing leftover.
Marimekko founder Armi Ratia left a powerful legacy. How do her ideas influence your day-to-day work?
EK: Armi once said that Marimekko could be anything – it could sell chairs, or it could be an ice cream shop or a flower shop, or anything. It’s a way of thinking. It’s a philosophy, instead of a strict business plan.