How do you translate the joy of the outdoors into clothes? That's the question Rebekka Bay, creative director of the celebrated Finnish design house Marimekko, asked herself while working on the latest collaboration with Japanese brand Uniqlo.
The result: a limited-edition collection of fluffy turtlenecks, skirts, shorts, bags and socks realised in vibrant colours and prints—all inspired by the Nordic winter landscape and featuring Marimekko’s prints by iconic designers Maija Isola and Pentti Rinta.
In an interview, Bay talks about the collection, the idea behind it and why the fleece jacket is the best companion for winters. Edited excerpts:
The New Year 2024 Uniqlo x Marimekko collection is all about the joy of spending time outdoors, so it felt natural to choose four different nature-inspired prints from our vast archive. Each pattern displays the designer's unique imprint and chosen technique.
For instance, Maija Isola’s Kivet (stones) design was originally created in 1956 by cutting out large rough-edged circles with scissors. Kissapöllö (tawny owl), on the other hand, is a pattern of stylised natural forms, which Maija Isola created in 1961 using gentle, sweeping brushstrokes while listening to music in Marimekko’s textile printing factory in the middle of the night.
To me, it was important to capture the sense of optimism that entering a New Year brings. We were inspired by the idea of warmth, both the feeling you get spending time together with family, friends or loved ones.
For this limited-edition collection, we wanted to create a dialogue between the natural winter landscape and the bold graphic prints. With tone-to-tone pearl greys, muted gold, and timeless black, Marimekko’s bold and graphic prints mix perfectly with Uniqlo’s functional pieces.
My personal favourite for enjoying a crisp winter day would be the fleece jacket in Maija Isola’s Kivet (stones) pattern. It is one of my favourite Marimekko patterns and the fleece would allow me to layer up or down throughout the day and the week.
Whether you choose to layer up for added warmth or down for a more relaxed feel, a fleece jacket combines style and functionality, making it a perfect companion for winter outings.