Incidentally, this Uniqlo x Marimekko collection is aptly themed ‘Joyful Together’. 

It’s difficult to not think happy thoughts where Marimekko’s prints are concerned. They’re always bold, bright, and carry a positive vibe synonymous with the brand’s identity. It’s no wonder we can’t help but feel that its latest holiday collection with Uniqlo brings forth a sense of warmth, despite being designed with winter in mind. 

With this collection being the fourth collaboration between Uniqlo and Marimekko, this time around the latter has chosen nine iconic prints from its archive, created by iconic designers Maija Isola and Annika Rimala. These prints find themselves on modern silhouettes like poplin dresses for women, warm flannel pieces, premium merino blend knitwear, Ultra Light Down coats, and even kidswear. 

Delving deep into the core of this collection, we had a chat with Yuki Katsuta, Head of R&D at Uniqlo and Minna Kemell-Kutvonen, creative director at Marimekko to pick their brains on what inspired this collection, as well as how the pandemic influenced its design values. 

This marks the fourth collaboration you’re doing with Uniqlo, and your second fall/winter collection with them. How do you continue keeping things ‘fresh’ and keeping fans guessing for your collection?

Minna Kemell-Kutvonen (MK): A new collection always means a new concept. To me, constantly building a new and interesting future is the beauty of this line of work. What is most fascinating though, is that certain similarities always seem to emerge from our collections with Uniqlo. We stand for an uncomplicated and positive life attitude, quite simply.

What was the inspiration behind this collection?

MK: The collection was inspired by northern weather and winter life, featuring wintry items for women and children in iconic Marimekko prints by Annika Rimala and Maija Isola. Themed ‘Joyful together’, the collection combines the signature simplicity of Uniqlo apparel with Marimekko’s warm and spirited prints to celebrate togetherness at this special time of year. The essence of the collection lies in functional outerwear such as the Ultra Light Down Cocoon Coats, rich textured dresses and knits that will add cosiness and comfort to the holiday season.

Fall/Winter collections usually take on darker tones. With Marimekko being a brand known for its happy prints, how do you balance moody fall/winter tones with a positive vibe?

MK: In my view, the sophisticated nature of colours is emphasised in darker hues. The essence of the colour becomes condensed in darker shades – they bring us warmth, comfort, and serenity. These aspects are definitely positive and needed, especially now.

Has Covid-19 affected or influenced the way you design this collection?

Yuki Katsuta (YK): Yes, there has been some influence. The pandemic has created a new lifestyle, whereby more and more people are working from home compared to previously. For the first time in the collaboration line, we introduced flannel fabrics, for example. Our dresses, shirts, and pants made of warm and cosy flannel are tailored in relaxed sizes to make your time at home more comfortable and enjoyable. 

Other items include merino blend knitwear, which is comfortable yet sophisticated enough for you to wear when attending meetings from home. When designing the current collaboration line we were conscious of a product mix that could try to answer many, if not all the needs of such a new lifestyle.

Lastly, what piece from this collection are you certain is going to be a hit with Malaysian shoppers?

YK: Considering Malaysia’s tropical climate, I believe our tops and dresses that can be worn casually by themselves will gain popularity. Kids’ items, which we first launched in Fall/Winter 2019, have also been well received in the ASEAN region, so I hope that our fans in Malaysia will enjoy designs that can be worn together by mothers and their children.

PohNee Chin
Editor, Kuala Lumpur
Poh Nee is the editor and writes about travel and drinks. When she's not living out her holiday dreams via Google Earth and sipping on an Old Fashioned down at the local bars, you can find her snug at home bingeing on Netflix and mystery fiction.