Friday, November 23, 2007

Marimekko goes cheap?


Once again I got a reminder that it is not wise to believe everything you read in the news.

I read the English pages of Helsingin Sanomat and found the article H&M to introduce Marimekko to masses

Price and quality settle towards upper end of chain’s product range

Adding the Marimekko designs into the selection of the Swedish clothing retailer Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) will add considerably to the international visibility of the Finnish textile and clothing design company.

Marimekko is a leading Finnish textile and clothing design company that was established in 1951. The company designs, manufactures and markets high-quality clothing, interior decoration textiles, bags and other accessories under the Marimekko brand, both in Finland and abroad.

H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB was established in Sweden in 1947. The company's business concept is to offer fashion and quality at the best price.

My first reaction was astonishment. Marimekko’s unique Finnish clothes sold in company which was accused of using child labour in manufacturing their clothes. They of course denied that.

I read the press release carefully and found out that H&M is making clothes with Marimekko’s fabric designs. After that I went back to Helsingin Sanomat and read again the English and Finnish versions of the article. The Finnish version states that H&M uses Marimekko fabrics.

The truth is that they only use Marimekko patterns.

Clothes by Marimekko are chiefly made from pure natural materials: cotton, wool and linen and are thus quite expensive. I seriously doubt that H&M even tries to achieve the same.


Marimekko was very fashionable in Finland in the 1970’s and it has recently become fashion again. The patterns can be found in paper products, kitchen utensils even laptops and TV’s can be found styled with Marimekko pattern.

I actually never had Marimekko clothes because of their striking colours but I am proud of the company which has been able to keep its original style and even introduced it abroad. To me Hennes & Mauritz is for clothes what IKEA is for furniture. The only difference is that you don’t have to sew the clothes yourself.

This is not actually a statement against IKEA. I have a huge bookshelf made by IKEA. It was the only place I could find a shelf adjustable to my needs and designed to carry books, not just being part of the interior design. Besides my daughter loves to put the IKEA furniture together.

Here are some examples of the Marimekko designs. The most famous in Finland is Unikko (=Poppy), the red flowers in the picture, and H&M is not using that one. The deal is for 5 patterns from 1950-1980 which will be published later.



4 comments:

Black_Mamba said...

"To me Hennes & Mauritz is for clothes what IKEA is for furniture. The only difference is that you don’t have to sew the clothes yourself."

Leena, I couldn't agree more lol......... Although I think quality-wise H&M ranks a bit higher than Ikea. But that just my opinion. Stuff I bought from H&M def. outlasted racks and boxes I bought from Ikea :)

Leena said...

I have been very satisfied with my bookshelf :)
I don't use H&M very often, since we have a Finnish equivalent to it (Seppälä).

wendy said...

maybe you should look into H&M a bit more before you start accusing them of using child labour, check out the website and especially the area about their ethics

Leena said...

Wendy, do not read between the lines.
I stated the existing facts. They were accused of using child labour and they denied it.
There is nothing in the text implicating that I agree on either of those statements.
Probably the accusations were wrong regarding that I know the Swedish standards.
The only opinion I am sharing in this post is that Marimekko and H&M belong to totally different categories.