© Courtesy of the artist.
Marimekko (Mary dress) is a Finnish textile company founded in 1951 by Armi Ratia and a group of friends who had trained in art and textiles. Her husband had a factory producing oilskins but she suggested they develop bold, graphic printed textiles for clothes and interiors. They came to represent the era of the 1960s.
Marimekko was more than a textile company. The Ratias had an optimistic post-war ideology. They believed in freedom, equality, utility, practicality, optimism and happiness. The company even had plans to build a Mari Village where factory workers could live in a brightly coloured, spacious homes. A pilot house was built by the architect Aarno Ruusuvuori in 1967, but bureaucracy held up the development and by the late 60s the company was in financial difficulties. More recently, it has prospered again with shops opening in China and the United States.