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‘A uniform for intellectuals’: the fashion legacy of Marimekko

Designed in the 1950s to bring colour to a postwar world, Finnish design brand Marimekko is enjoying a fashion moment – with a bright and breezy Uniqlo collaboration

‘I really don’t sell clothes, I sell a way of living.” No, these aren’t the words of fashion’s current tastemakers, the likes of outgoing Céline designer Phoebe Philo or, say, Gucci’s alchemist Alessandro Michele. Actually, they were spoken way back in 1963 by Armi Ratia, the founder of Marimekko. The Finnish design house has been brightening up ways of living with bold artistic prints since 1951, when Ratia transformed her husband’s oilcloth company into one producing cheerful, bold but elegant printed designs.

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