Meet the maker: Marimekko textile printing factory, Finland

Fashion Revolution is a global movement promoting a more sustainable and transparent fashion industry and better working conditions. The campaign reminds us that there is a human being behind every garment and encourages companies to bring forth these professionals in different parts of the supply chain.

Fashion Revolution Week commemorates the fashion industry’s most devastating factory disaster to date. On 24 April 2013, the Rana Plaza factory building collapsed in Bangladesh causing 1,138 people to lose their lives and leaving 2,500 injured. The victims were mostly young women.

The positive change towards a more transparent fashion industry starts with a simple question: who made your clothes?

Marimekko textile printing factory, Finland

The heart and soul of Marimekko’s print design is its own textile printing factory in Helsinki. Around one million metres of fabric is printed at the factory every year. All of Marimekko’s fabrics sold by meter are printed in Helsinki, as well as a large part of the fabrics used in clothing, bags and home textiles. The printing factory has a crucial role in Marimekko’s design process – it allows the design team to work closely with the craftsmen who realise the prints onto fabric one step at a time.

Timelessness and functionality are at the core of Marimekko’s design philosophy. Marimekko products are designed to stand the test of time when cared for properly. The choices made in design and product development significantly affect the environmental impacts of a product’s life cycle. A timeless, high-quality and functional product is a sustainable choice.

Screen maker Kahi Yau has been working at Marimekko for 14 years.

“I prepare the screens for our two different types of printing machines – each colour of the print design is printed on the fabric with these screens. The best thing in my work is independence. The one thing I’d like to change is to have those big flat printing steel frames replaced with lighter aluminium ones – my work requires a lot of lifting and carrying. When it comes to sustainability, I appreciate Marimekko donating the excess fabrics to school projects and daycare centers.” – Kahi Yau