Finnish fabric manufacturer and retail chain. The company's chief designer was Armi Ratia (1912-1979), who was known for her use of vibrant colors and large patterns. She first joined her husband's design firm, Printex, in 1949. In 1951, the company was renamed Marimekko, which means "a little dress for Mary" in Finnish. During the 1960s and '70s, the firm manufactured cotton, jersey, and wool fabrications, along with paper, laminated plastics, and table coverings. Ratia was known for designing free, easy fashions in bold painterly designs taking much of her inspiration from nature and handicraft.
Ben Thompson, the founder of the retail establishment Design Reseaach, Inc. (D/R), discovered Ratia's designs at the Finnish Pavilion of the Brussels World Fair in 1957, and persuaded her to come to the United States. D/R became the exclusive representative of Marimekko products in the U.S. Today, through franchises worldwide, Marimekko stores sell simple clothing for women and children, as well as household accessories and furniture.