If you haven't heard of Marimekko before, ask your mother (or your grandma). This Finnish lifestyle design house has been breaking patterns by making patterns for upwards of 70 years—but you wouldn't find anything like the Kioski collection in your grandma's closet. This week, Marimekko launches the bold streetwear line for the first time in Vancouver. It makes the same kind of unapologetic statement the company is known for, but with a 21st century twist: the entire line is unisex.
If the company's founder, Armi Ratia, was alive today, she'd most likely be squashing internet trolls, marching for social justice, and definitely grabbing back. "In 1950s fashion was conservative, and the founder wanted the opposite," says Marimekko's Creative Marketing Director, Sanna-Kaisa Niikko. "She believed that women should be able to run in a dress if they want to."
The most iconic Marimekko print, Unikko, features a poppy, a print that Ratia originally dismissed because it was too "romantic." But the big, boisterous interpretation of the flower soon grew to be symbol for bold creativity. Originally on floor-length dresses, the Kioski collection features the Unikko print plastered on loose-fitting T-shirts and rain jackets (score, Vancouver).
It seems that Marimekko has never been afraid of evolution (the company started as a printing factory in 1948, but a just-for-fun fashion show sent them hurtling into the fashion industry in 1951) and the Kioksi collection embraces both change and tradition. The modern styles created from classic prints dare you to stare. The line is made up of T-shirts, hoodies, scrunchies, socks, and a variety of bags, and is available exclusively at gravitypope.
These bright prints might just be the best antidote to rainy days, and it's an antidote made for everyone. Just as your grandma may have proudly sported the Unikko poppy, so may you—and your boyfriend.