Why I Chose To Shop Marimekko x Target After Swearing Off Fast Fashion

I loved Marimekko before I even knew what it was. Image: The Key To Chic.

I loved Marimekko before I even knew what it was. Image: The Key To Chic.

Marimekko has always been a company of strong vision and strong women.

I’ve been slowly but surely weaning myself off fast fashion.

Like the consumption of dairy, it’s not necessarily great for us, good for our environment, or good for the world — but old habits die hard.

Kasvu fabric. Image: Finnstyle.

It’s a very tricky sea to navigate when most of what we buy is made overseas.

I also completely understand that for a person with expenses and mouths to feed, buying independent designers won't always be in the budget.

But for myself, I've been really trying to think about every purchase I make and its overall impact on the world.

However, I recently broke code and indulged in the Marimekko for Target collection.

On a fine Sunday morning, I set my alarm for an hour I’ve come to dread — 7:45 AM (never a morning person!) — and got in my car to drive to Target. I haven’t shopped a designer collaboration there since, probably, Phillip Lim's 3.1.


But if I believe in anything, I believe in Marimekko.

I love that the average person without a ton of disposable income can own a piece of fantastic Finnish design. 

While there are plenty of problems with fast fashion, I do love that high/low collaborations make fashion more democratic instead of a rich kids' game.



When I lived in East London and the wall of my room was bare and white, two yards of Putkinotko fabric made the space instantly warm and bright.



Plus, Marimekko is in my blood. No, really.

My Grammy started buying their home wares in the 1970s because it was sold in the luxury department store she worked for (A.H. Riise in St. Thomas Virgin Islands). My older sister had Marimekko bibs as a baby and my Grammy had Unikko placemats.

If Jackie O was into it, my Grammy was too.

Bib and Lokki sheets. Image: supplied.

As for me, I loved Marimekko before I even knew what it was: My parents have a set of sheets that I adored even as a child in the 80s (I rescued them from the donation box more than once). You guessed it: Lokki.

When I lived in East London and the wall of my room was bare and white, two yards of Putkinotko fabric made the space instantly warm and bright. My first trip to Sweden meant I HAD to buy an additional Marimekko travel bag to hold some of the additional treasures I had found on my travels.

When I got my first real job out of college, working for a TV network, a short-lived Marimekko concept store opened up across the street and gave discounts to anyone with a badge from my company.

Needless to say, there went most of my paycheck.

What I’m trying to say is, I’m a committed customer.


I became even more overjoyed about this line in particular when I saw Target use plus size models in the national advertising campaign for the collection.


The company itself has always been one of strong vision and strong women. It all started in 1949 when Armi Ratia, the wife of Viljo Ratia (who owned a textile printing company), came up with the fantastic idea to add bold hand-printed designs to textiles.

In 1953, Vuokko Eskolin-Nurmesniemi joined the company as a fashion and textile designer, paving the way for many other women to head fashion companies. At the time, most famous fashion houses (Chanel excepted) were headed by men.

Unikko. Image: FinnStyle.

Many other women designers would come on board, including Maija Isola, the visionary behind one of Marimekko’s most iconic designs, Unikko.

Isola would go on to create Kaivo, Seireeni, Kivet, Lokki, and hundreds of other recognizable designs.

From the get-go, Marimekko was progressive through and through, understanding that women can steer a business in the right direction.

I became even more overjoyed about this line in particular when I saw Target use plus size models in the national advertising campaign for the collection.

Marimekko clearly had to agree to that.

What's more democratic than inclusive advertising?

I remember, not so long ago, when a certain French designer was less than thrilled that his high street collaboration would produce plus sizes. The only way we get inclusion in fashion is if we support companies when they attempt to change their ways, so shopping this collection was a must for me.

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But let's get to the details!

As a seasoned collector of Marimekko (I can’t take myself seriously typing that!), I can tell you that the items most similar to the main line (IE, the ones that were worth getting up early for) are the tote bags and the sun hats.


Kukkatori Print Oversized Beach Tote in Primary


A good portion of Marimekko's bags are made out of heavy cotton canvas.

They can cost upwards of $100, but the good news is, they last forever.

My travel bag is 13 years old and still looks brand new! The cotton canvas beach totes could sell for a lot more at a Marimekko store. 


Appelsiini Print Sun Hat in Warm



The sun hats have a nice sturdy rim and a good shape.

I have a difficult time stuffing my massive fro into normal hats, but these are generous.

I approve!



Appelsiini Print Top in Blue



The women's clothing is mostly constructed of polyester blends, which doesn’t make for a long life of wear, but I couldn’t resist the Appelsiini print top and short.

The print and the color flatters most people. 



Marimekko plates, bowls, cups, and napkins.

Home & Outdoor

You really can’t go wrong with any of the home wares.

It’s beautifully designed, and there’s plenty of it available in stores and online.

So go ahead and brighten up that living room and kitchen! 

[Editor's note: Psst — a lot of the home goods seem to be on clearance as of publishing!]


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As a parting bit of advice, can I recommend that you NOT buy any of these goods on eBay?

I love eBay, but I hate how so many of these collections end up there. It really takes the fun out of everything.

I find nothing more ridiculous than paying hundreds for a designer collaboration dress that is listed next to a dress of superior quality from that same designer’s main line for less money.

This collection didn’t inspire the same frenzy (and resulting eBay flooding) as the Lilly Pulitzer line, and frankly, I was chuffed about that — more Marimekko for me!

A lot of times, when you walk into a store and see the collection magically restocked, it’s because eBay sellers are returning the goods they can’t offload onto unsuspecting individuals.

If nobody participates in the circus, it ends up back in stores and into the hands of those most deserving: you!

Given the timing of the Marimekko x Target line's release, these returns should be happening... Oh, right about now.

So off you go! Happy shopping!

Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter and let me know if you bought anything and what you think of the line.

Header image: The Key To Chic.

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