Most people we know have a soft spot for Marimekko designs. Marimekko is a Finnish design company renowned for its original prints and colours since 1951. Many of their designs are instantly recognisable and have become part of this century’s design lexicon. 

DECO designer Ilana Swanepoel looks at three of the company’s top textile designers. 

Katsuji Wakisaka | Elle Decoration SA
Katsuji Wakisaka
Katsuji Wakisaka | Elle DEcoration SA
Katsuji Wakisaka

Katsuji Wakisaka
This Japanese textile designer started his career in 1968 at Finnish textile company Marimekko. Surrounded by nature, he became interested in organic shapes and bold colours and upon his return to Japan in the 1980s, he started an apparel brand called SouSou. Wakisaka still takes inspiration from nature, painting seasonal changes and traditional Japanese patterns for his designs. His textile designs all start as post cards, which he mails to his wife.

The name Marimekko is a play on words, yet completely descriptive. ‘Mari’ is an anagram of the first name of the company’s founder, Armi Ratia, while ‘mekko’ means ‘dress’ in Finnish. And it was indeed Mari’s dresses that started it all in 1951.

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Maija Louekari
Finnish designer Maija Louekari also cut her teeth at Marimekko, after studying at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki. Her career took off after winning her university’s prestigious design competition in 2003, and she’s since exhibited all over Europe.






























Maija Isola
This versatile artist was born in Finland in 1927, and it was her bold designs that made Marimekko famous in the 1960s. She was influential in interpreting the events of the era and forecasting trends, and drew inspiration from traditional folk art, modern art, nature and her travels around the world. Her body of work includes more than 500 prints.





Why not enter the Marimekko Instagram Contest?

How do you enter?
1. You must be a fan of @marimekkousa
2. Share your photo and tag #marimekkoinspired
3. Explain why the photo you share “inspires you” in your caption

*No purchase necessary. Instagram account must be set public for photo to be submitted. No inappropriate photos will be credited.

Follow Marimekkousa Instagram here and @elle_deco instagram here.


Compiled by Ilana Swanepoel