Uniqlo collaborates with Marimekko for a colourful capsule collection themed on Nordic midsummer
In celebration of its 70th birthday, Finnish design house Marimekko joins forces with Japanese designer Uniqlo in producing clothing, accessories and footwear inspired by the midsummer tradition.
- Ayla Angelos
- 20 May 2021
Today marks the launch of the Uniqlo x Marimekko Limited Edition Capsule Collection, a collaboration made between the two notable companies in celebration of Marimekko’s 70th anniversary.
The latter, a Finnish design house, has made a name for itself globally through producing home furnishings, textiles and fashion in a signature blend of colour and printed fabrics. Uniqlo, on the other hand, is a Japanese casual wear designer, manufacturer and retailer known for its simple designs under its credited clothing arm LifeWear. This latest release sees the merging of these two worlds, with a new collection of clothing, accessories and footwear themed on Joyful Summer.
Minna Kemell-Kutvonen, Marimekko’s director of Home products and Print Design, explains: “The collection was built around the idea of Nordic midsummer, a season characterised by so called ‘nightless nights’, nature’s summer awakening and different heartwarming traditions. The flowers of midsummer, the warmth and light of our ‘nightless nights’ as well as the picturesque aspect of the Finnish countryside can all be sensed in the season’s prints in my opinion. Clothes have the ability to create moods, and we hope this collection will bring people around the world joyfulness, optimism and a warm summery feeling.”
For the release, four print designers from the Marimekko archive were tasked to create seven distinctive print patterns that reflect the aesthetic of the Nordic summer. This includes Fujiwo Ishimoto, Annika Rimala, Maija Isola and Maija Louekari, who each contributed to the collection’s print selection. Three prints by Ishimoto are featured, comprising a flower-picking design inspired by his Seitsemä kukkaa (seven flowers); a Talkoot (work party) floral design print; plus the Pikkulempi (little love) pattern, symbolising flowers in a meadow. Rimala, a designer known for her modernist designs, created the Aitanovi (cottage door) and Aita (fence) prints.
In the new collection, both companies have included various iterations of denim through wide brim hats, knotted bags and espadrilles. Florals and graphic shapes take the lead in the pattern design, giving a firm nod to the summer theme. “The new types of denim styles emphasise the delightful simplicity of summer and the freshness of Finnish midsummer we wanted to portray,” adds Kemell-Kutvonen. “I’m really happy with how this functional summer breeziness manifests in the kids’ items as well.”
Additionally, this is the first time that Marimekko has incorporated prints with a “really special link to Japan”, says Kemell-Kutvonen. For example, Ishimoto has created 400 prints as a textile designer for the company between 1974-2006, and many of his works are inspired by a mix of Scandinavia and Japanese design. “Ishimoto interprets the nature all around us in such a delicate and exquisite way,” Kemell-Kutvonen says of his contribution to the collection. “In his prints, he manages to capture unique moments from life, little details that transport the viewer into a story. Put simply, Ishimoto has the ability to simplify and to bring out the essential in a print.”
On a final note about the collection, Kemell-Kutvonen says: “It’s about functional practical solutions for everyday life, without forgetting joy and playfulness. This collaboration combines Marimekko’s distinctive print and colour heritage together with Uniqlo’s timeless, democratic and functional LifeWear in a unique way.”
GalleryMarimekko and Uniqlo: Uniqlo x Marimekko Limited Edition Capsule Collection (Copyright © Marimekko and Uniqlo, 2021)
Marimekko and Uniqlo: Uniqlo x Marimekko Limited Edition Capsule Collection (Copyright © Marimekko and Uniqlo, 2021)
About the Author
Ayla is a London-based freelance writer, editor and consultant specialising in art, photography, design and culture. After joining It’s Nice That in 2017 as editorial assistant, she became online editor in 2022 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. She has written for i-D, Dazed, AnOther, WePresent, Port, Elephant and more, and she is also the managing editor of design magazine Anima.