There’s nothing quite like a bold print to jolly up a dull autumn day—at least, that’s the approach taken by the Finnish brand Marimekko, famous for its vibrant floral-patterned clothing, accessories and homeware. “The fact that we have such long and dark winters influences our colour thinking,” says the brand’s creative marketing director Sanna-Kaisa Niiko, over the phone from Helsinki on a cloudy afternoon. “We have this craving for colour in winter and summer. And of course the founding idea behind Marimekko [established in 1951] was to bring fresh ideas to Finland after World War II—to bring joy to people who were not feeling the best.”
Their latest idea to inspire more joy is Marimekko Kioski, a streetwear line that is exclusively available in Canada at Gravity Pope in an in-store kiosk. This is something of a coup for the independent retailer, since apart from Marimekko flagship stores, the only other international outlet for Kioski will be Rei Kawakubo’s iconic Dover Street Market. “It’s pretty amazing that we’re one of the two shops they decided to launch this with, and Dover Street Market is the other,” says Louise Dirks, who founded Gravity Pope in Edmonton in 1990. “I think it’s because we all share that free-spirited and independent attitude. When I started reading about the Marimekko founder, I felt a kinship with her approach to fashion, which is about being a leader, not a follower, focusing on ethical, well-made fabrications that are easy to wear and will last.”
The new gender-neutral Kioski collection comprises hoodies, T-shirts and accessories. With a more affordable price point and casual edge, how does it chime with that timeless Marimekko vibe? Niiko says it’s about bringing iconic prints such as the Unikko (poppy) from 1964 and the Tasaraita (stripe) from 1968 to a street-wear context, making them easy to incorporate into your wardrobe. And, says Dirks, it’s not really about trendiness or youth. “Everyone I’ve spoken to that’s familiar with Marimekko’s clothing and homeware is excited about this because it’s so fun and has loads of colour. Also, it’s not going to be widely available, so I think that’ll take it to the next level—people will seek it out because it’s fresh, new and not all over the place.”
Dirks is confident that the collection will play well with the Vancouver crowd, her biggest market in Canada. And her personal Marimekko musts this season? “From the main line, I’ll be buying a jersey A-line dress,” she says. “And from Kioski, the hoodie, definitely, and I don’t know why, but I really want the scrunchie – I’m very drawn to that.”
Marimekko Kioski is available online and in store at Gravity Pope.
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