Tag Archives: style

Marimekko. Between The Last News & Today.

Unikko 50 years, Marimekko, design

Image via marimekko.fi

Here we are. Hopefully at the end of this Marimekko-saga. Year 2013 was rough for the company. It’s reputation was in the crapper and they didn’t seem be to able to do anything right. So what has Marimekko done to get things fixed?

On September 30th last year they announced that Marimekko will no longer to collaborate with Kristina Isola. However, in the same breath they continued that her daughter Emma Isola WILL stay at the company. As one commenter on the Helsingin Sanomat-article said:

“Seems like a fixed deal. Mother ‘quit’s but daughter continues. How does it differ from before?”

Then another one builds on the work of Kritiikkiblogi, who made a case of nepotism in Finnish art & design education (I’m translating some Finnish expressions here and quite badly):

“Safety net jobs for the whole family. It’s just the way of the country and about the good sister-network. Hundreds of design professionals are trained in the adult daycare centers, and the few job opportunities go like this…I thought that the Helsinki University of Art & Design/Aalto Yliopisto had the market on nepotism (ex-dean and his children’s safety net jobs, the managerial positions and companies started within the university) but apparently not.”

Ow. The comments on various websites and other news articles played the same tune. I studied in Holland were there are frequently open design jobs but in Finland, they are few and far between. Not to mention, the problems with Finnish art school application system. In Finland there is emphasis on drawing skills and when you apply, you have to make three artworks. One with pencil, one with watercolour and one with whatever. Subjects change but the techniques… Never. Getting in depends on one very specific skill that doesn’t tell anything about person’s overall artistic skills and visions. Kritiikkiblogi wrote extensively about this system HERE (in Finnish).

Marimekko, business, art, design, layoffs, market, sale

Image via taloussanomat.fi

Then came some good news…In January, Marimekko published the news that they would be collaborating with Banana Republic. The collection will have 25 pieces and Marimekko told that it will significantly increase their licensing income. But that didn’t stop these news…

In February, Marimekko announced layoffs. There was a mini scandal when Mika Ihamuotila tweeted (and later deleted) a picture from a meeting with a text about nice textiles etc. and it turned out it was from the meeting they decided about the layoffs. For some weird reason, people thought it was tad tacky ;) They made the announcement at the same time with the news of opening of another 15-25 stores around Asia and North America. The only department safe from the layoffs is the Helsinki fabric printery. Which is positive as they seem to want to keep on at least some of their skilled workers.

And now to the BIG news…

Minna Kemell-Kutvonen, Marimekko, creative director, art, design

Minna Kemell-Kutvonen, image via yle.fi

In February, Marimekko made another announcement. They were going to move Minna Kemell-Kutvonen away from the Creative Director position and she will now be the Head of Pattern Design (well, we all know how well that worked before…) Then they launched a search for new Creative Director and today the news broke that the new CD will be Anna Teurnell from H&M!  She is the design director at the women’s fashion brand & Other Stories, which is owned by H&M.

This is all kinds of exciting, Anna Teurnell was part of the team that created Marimekko for H&M-collection few years back and I think she will bring the much needed sex appeal into the designs. Not that large print muumuu’s aren’t sexy but…They really aren’t. I have my doubts though. There’s a little sentence in the press release that makes me think that this change isn’t really going to change the corporate culture and subsequently the design process:

“Anna Teurnell’s artistic vision, internation experience and Nordic background are a great combination to help us to meet our high ambitions. I am also pleased that Minna Kemell-Kutvonen will now be concentrating on further strengthening our core competence, print design.”

So they get a new Creative Director (in fact they used the words Marc, Jacobs and visionary in their search) who is supposed to bring in all these new ideas in BUT you still separate your “core competence” from these new ideas. Marimekko potentially ties up Anna’s hands before she has even begun working there. And has Minna Kemell-Kutvonen showed any skill regarding print & pattern management before? Nothing in this entire story has shown any regard for other people’s talent either from her part. But we’ll see. Anna Teurnell will begin working there in July, so we won’t see her handiwork until 2015. If it’s any good as this sneak peek from the Banana Republic-collection, we are in for a treat:

Marimekko for Banana Republic

Image via Luckymag.com

See! No muumuus anywhere! I hope I don’t have to add anything to this story ever again and the next story about Marimekko will be about how I want to buy something from them or they have done something exciting design-wise. Fingers crossed.

Thrifty Finn- Feeling like she has given everything she has to this story

Related reading:

Sweet Mother of 90s

90s, floral, flowers, fashion, style, music

Original image via calibakers.com

I’m continuing with some more news about Finnish popular culture…The other week, Finnish Broadcasting Company asked around in social media for people’s favourite 90′s songs. Today they announced the list, with some comments. My favourite:

When I heard this song for the first time at the youth association disco, it blew this heavy rocker’s mind. You wanted to dance even if you didn’t have the skill and knew that heavy rocker wasn’t supposed to like electronic music.

The song he was talking about was of course Prodigy’s No Good:

What was interesting that Spice Girls, Oasis or Blur didn’t make the list. The reason was that the votes for them went to several different songs. Personally I think that ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ should have been there but maybe next time they can make a TOP 10 90s girl/boyband-song list. Backstreet Boys’ ‘Everybody’ being the number 1 of course. Anyhoo, the TOP 10 90s songs (with links to respective videos) according to Finnish people are:

  1. Nirvana: Smells Like Teen Spirit
  2. Deee-Lite: Groove Is In The Heart
  3. The Cranberries: Zombie
  4. Guns’N’Roses: November Rain
  5. Haddaway: What Is Love
  6. Queen: Show Must Go On
  7. Culture Beat: Mr. Vain
  8. Suede: Trash
  9. The Prodigy: No Good (Start The Dance)
  10. The Garbage: I’m Only Happy When It Rains

Another personal note. Although I do love Deee-Lite’s ‘Groove Is In The Heart’, I think ‘Good Beat’ is way better. I didn’t discover until last summer and it has become my most played and loved song. Oh and Miss Kier has an amazing Tumblr, you should check it out.

Thrifty Finn- Wishing that she could pull of a bodysuit like that.

Pinteresting vol.XXII

NewPinterestbanner2

This week I found Pinteresting…

Moomins, Tove Jansson, bbc, article

via bbc.com

BBC wrote a rather interesting article about Tove Jansson, the creator of Moomins. Read it HERE.

goodvibe.co, quotes, kushandwizdom, activism

via thegoodvibe.co

Since Moomins are known to be bohemian and rebellious, I decided to continue with this quote. I’ve become known in Twitter as an activist and general caller of bullshit and this is the reason I do it. In 2013 I participated in my first demonstrations and I’m sure there will be more, especially with two huge elections coming up and TTIP looming over us.

tiger, muted, powerfull

via pinterest.com

I tried, and I tried, and I tried but couldn’t find the original source to this photo. But I decided to share it anyway as it is one of the best tiger images I’ve ever seen. There’s another reason too. To be able to fight for what is right, you have to find your inner tiger.

I’m so deep sometimes I amaze myself. Here’s someone else who is deep and capable of fighting the good fight…

Buffy, Spike, vampire, slayer

via photobucket.com

Oh, Buffy and Spike. How I miss thee. Buffy and Friends are my two go-to-series when I’m in serious need of a pick-up. Too many people dismiss Buffy as fluff but personally I think it’s fantastic coming-of-age-story, not to mention full of hilarious one-liners. Best part of modern age is that I can now stream Buffy fully on Netflix.

polite as fuck, t-shirt, fashion, buy me brunch

via buymebrunch.com

I already shared this image on Twitter some time ago but I think it’s need another outing. Why? Because it captures my personality so very well. You know, I TRY to be polite but sometimes (all the time) it’s just too hard! Anyhoo, the brand is called Buy Me Brunch and they also have a version for us ladies of this shirt. You can find them HERE.

Thrifty Finn- Had some setbacks but I’m okay now

P.S. Okay one more. Because Ross:

Ross, pivot, Friends, keep calm. poster

via themetapicture.com

Mayday, Mayday

Our minister of foreign trade (who btw has blocked me on Twitter) just got re-tweeted by the Marimekko CEO.

I leave you to judge if Marimekko has other design problems other than plagiarism.

Inspirations! Who? What? Where?

mika ihamuotila, marimekko, rovio

Image via MTV3.fi

I had my alarm clock on this morning so I could watch the Ihamuotila-interview on MTV3. I couldn’t get my eyes open. Thank heavens, there’s social media and I found abundant of links to the clip. The gist of the interview was that Marimekko and Louekari deny all the accusations:

Where’s the line between plagiarism and inspiration? “Looks like traced through baking paper”

In today’s Huomenta Suomi, the host Jesse Kamras showed Iltalehti‘s image to Marimekko CEO Mika Ihamuotila. Below is translated version of the original transcript found in here.

Kamras: This mystical Barcelona-bag and Maija Louekari’s Moments-print, yeah, there’s a picture in Iltalehti from 1960′s. By photographer Markus Lepo of Esplanadi. You could almost say it’s traced through baking paper so where is the line between plagiarism and inspiration?

Ihamuotila: It usually is, sometimes you move in a gray area. Sometimes it’s like a line in water, sometimes it’s hard to say. But usually it’s quite clear if it’s original inspiration, which is no where near any other work, so then you talk about a work of art that’s individual and original. -But this piece, you brought up right now, is it from today’s paper? It’s incomprehensible. That’s Maija Louekari’s one of a kind and original description of Esplanadi. And then some spanish bag manufacturer copied that and now Finnish press is claiming, based on a rumor that that (ours) is copied from that.

Kamras: But if you lay the Moments-print on top of the image, it’s one on one but is, is it inspiration?

Ihamuotila: For goodness sake, history of the world is filled with amazing but abstract works, based on views. And that is completely original and in my opinion very fabulous, that Maija Louekari’s original piece.

Well, I received a link here in comments and on Twitter, to this blogpost from 2011 and specifically to this picture:

esplanadi, markus lepo, marimekko, louekari

Image via mikasavela.tumblr.com

Yup. I’d say that’s definitely the original. The photo is by Markus Lepo and can be found in a book from 1960′s. Mika Savela says in his blog that the book’s name loosely translates as “Helsinki and it’s people”. He then proceeds to discuss about how it is cool that this image and the city life in it, “trickled down” through decades and found their way into various products:

mika savela, marimekko, hetkiä

Image via mikasavela.tumblr.com

You should go and read the full post HERE at mikasavela.tumblr.com. He writes in English.

So what does this mean to the copy claims? Well, it still could mean that the photo was made originally into a print by the spanish company. Marimekko’s defenders say that every designer have lots of inspiration pictures and after a while they blur together and so on. I say it’s entirely possible that a Spanish  designer bought copy of the book on some holiday to Finland. I have my share of vintage photo books from abroad for exactly this reason. They are cheap and they are cute.

It’s also possible that Marimekko did the print first. However, we have an iffy beginnings story. In yesterday’s statement we saw sketches of city views but we didn’t see the original concept board/images they were based on. In such, using vintage/retro tourist images for a basis IS a fun concept. However, now it’s too late for Marimekko to say that it was their original intention as they didn’t say so originally.

Marimekko’s defenders have jumped on the poor woman who brought up the similarities between the bag and the Marimekko-print. Questioning her background and whatnot. I’ve responded to them and I write it down here too: It doesn’t matter what her background is. She can be drug addict, disease-riddled prostitute but it doesn’t change the facts if the bag is older than Marimekko’s Hetkiä. Even if it turns out that Marimekko was copied, still, all she did was that she brought it up and even then, it’s good for Marimekko because then they can start legal proceedings against the Spanish company.

Now, all we have to do is found out the manufacturer of the bag. Then this will be solved. (Well, not for Marimekko. They have serious problems with their creative, business and communication processes).

Thrifty Finn- Loosing Twitter-followers faster than I can type Marimekko :D

P.S. I will be back to regular blogging soon ;)