From The Straits Times    |

It’s not an easy task to elevate a brand already so iconic but if there is anyone who can take up this challenge, it is Rebekka Bay. Marimekko’s newly minted creative director has an impressive resume which includes leading roles at Everlane in New York and San Francisco, Bruuns Bazaar in Copenhagen and most recently at COS in London.

Speaking to Her World about what she was looking forward in her role, the fashion veteran said:  “I have this unique opportunity which is a first for me to have a print archive of more than 3,500 prints that we are now applying to that vision. So I guess in terms of like your design journey, it totally is a different step.”

Bay highlighted that she was not interested into moving away from the archives but would like to challenge the heritage by being more fluid toward gender, size and age. She hopes to continue to engage with the customer more actively and making pieces that allows them the freedom to style it according to what they like and want, effortlessly.

Rebekka Bay, Marimekko’s newly minted creative director

“I think one of the things I brought to Marimekko was that I definitely have this very strong, if not minimal, then modernistic preferences in my work. I’m very inspired by modernism, minimalism, architecture and furniture design. So I think I’m really intrigued by this meeting between the Marimekko patterns that are bold and vibrant and joyful, and then applying them to a silhouette that is modern, and to the point.”

We spoke to Rebekka when she was in Singapore at the newly opened Marimekko boutique in ION Orchard, about her plans to pave the Finnish brand into a new direction.

What’s your vision for the brand as creative director?

Marimekko has always been about the art of printmaking and we are famous for our patterns – some more recognizable than others. But we were never really famous for silhouettes. So one of the first things I did when joining Marimekko was really to identify what are the most important silhouettes for Marimekko. Of course, I look back at the archives, and identify the A-line silhouette and the “Jackie O” little shift dress is probably our most iconic silhouette. The straight line, is a very architectural Scandinavian take on design, as well as the fit and flare, so I would say, that would be our most important silhouette.

2024 will mark the 60th anniversary of the Unikko print by Maija Isola — Marimekko’s most celebrated and one of the most recognized designs in the world. How would you interpret this in the upcoming Spring 2024 collection?

Yes all of 2024 will be one long Unikko celebration, really, so it’s a very unique year for us. There’s actually a lot of versions of Unikko, so this is the classic version. There’s the Unikko with the stem and everything has been removed, there’s small versions of Unikko where it looks more camouflaged. So of course we’re playing with all of those, and in our main collection we have actually revisited the original Unikko and then with small tweaks, we use them on our most iconic silhouettes which is the A-line silhouette.

How do you plan to be a more inclusive brand to customers who aren’t really fans of prints?

I think that was the biggest challenge that was presented to me when I joined Marimekko. How do we create collections that are both, you know, joyful and print-heavy, but also wearable? Our classics is really sort of the solution to that as we create prints that are more toned down. We also work with a more muted or neutral colour palette so the collection feels calmer and you can pair the more vivid Marimekko prints but in a much more subdued and sophisticated way.

Tell us a little bit about the stripes collection.

So the stripes are actually our Tasaraita print; Tasaraita means equal. And it was actually designed as a symbol of equality back in the 60s by Annika Rimala. So this is a stripe that has been reversed, almost always. And that is now sort of very much the core of our Kioski collection, which is our most democratic, and inclusive collection.

What are your thoughts on Gen Z fashion?

Well, I think there’s already some Gen Z values embedded in Marimekko and very few brands can pride themselves on creating dresses that are being handed down from one generation to the next. We launched a peer-to-peer platform last year where people can sell and buy pre-loved Marimekko pieces. So I think a lot of our values are very much in tuned with the Gen Z psyche. But as much as we monitor Gen Z as a generation, we do the same for all generations as Marimekko is a brand that transcends age groups.

Marimekko is located at ION Orchard, B1-12A, Singapore 238801. Shop online


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