Designer interview

Designer interview

We interviewed Marimekko Creative Director Ms. Rebekka Bay about the inspiration and the concept behind the UNIQLO x Marimekko New Year 2024 limited edition collection.

It has been three years since the last global collection (six for Japan!), how do you feel about the return of this collaboration with UNIQLO? What did you want to achieve with this collection?

We are excited to continue our collaboration with UNIQLO and introduce the UNIQLO x Marimekko New Year 2024 limited edition collection. We believe in togetherness and in enriching collaborations. Every one of our collaborations is unique and combines Marimekko’s design DNA with the collaborator's DNA and core expertise. Our aim is always to bring something new and surprising for both our existing and new customers. This collaboration with UNIQLO combines four nature-inspired prints from Marimekko’s archive and UNIQLO’s soft fleece outfits and functional HEATTECH for both adults and children.

The season concept is “Warm, joyful dressing for a vibrant New Year.” What was the inspiration behind this collection?

The New Year 2024 limited edition collection celebrates the joy of the outdoors. We took inspiration from the serene Nordic winter landscapes and the warm feeling of spending time together with family, friends, and loved ones. The collection combines Marimekko’s nature-inspired prints by iconic designers Maija Isola and Pentti Rinta and UNIQLO’s soft fleece outfits and functional HEATTECH, the perfect combination of joy and warmth for crisp winter days.

What made you decide to incorporate the four patterns we have for this collection, the Kivet (stones), Kissapöllö (tawny owl), Seireeni (siren), and Hattara (wisp)?

The UNIQLO x Marimekko New Year 2024 limited edition collection is all about the joy of spending time outdoors, so it felt natural to choose four very different nature-inspired prints from our vast archive. Each pattern displays the designer's unique imprint and chosen technique, for instance Maija Isola’s Kivet (stones) design was originally created in 1956 by cutting out large rough-edged circles with scissors. Kissapöllö (tawny owl), on the other hand, is a pattern of stylised natural forms, which Maija Isola created in 1961 using gentle, sweeping brushstrokes while listening to music in Marimekko’s textile printing factory in the middle of the night.


For many of us, Marimekko brings to mind bold, colourful pattern, so it comes as quite a surprise that the colour palette for the season is very understated. What was the colour inspiration?

Each pattern, inspired by Nordic nature, echos a serene winter landscape. For this limited-edition collection we wanted to create a dialogue between the natural winter landscape and the bold graphic prints. With harmonious tone-to-tone pearl greys, muted gold, and timeless black, Marimekko’s bold and graphic prints mix perfectly with UNIQLO’s functional and stylish pieces for the winter season.

How do you feel about the UNIQLO LifeWear philosophy and how it is relevant to Marimekko?

My personal belief has always been that good design can create better living. UNIQLO’s LifeWear philosophy is very much aligned with this thinking, which is also something that is deeply rooted in Nordic design culture. Our lifelong mission at Marimekko is to bring joy to the everyday lives of people through our bold prints and colours. Our design philosophy is based on timelessness and longevity. Both UNIQLO’s concept of LifeWear and Marimekko’s design philosophy are both concerned with bringing quality to people’s everyday lives; quality through materials, quality through function, quality through timelessness, which acts also as the foundation for the building of this limited-edition collection.

The collection is predominantly made from fleece and HEATTECH. Are there any particular items you would recommend for the New Year?

My personal favourite for enjoying a crisp winter day would be the fleece jacket in Maija Isola’s Kivet (stones) print. It is one of my favourite Marimekko patterns and the fleece would allow me to layer up or down throughout the day.


What is the meaning or aspirations behind the collection?

To me, it was important to capture the sense of optimism that entering a New Year brings. We were inspired by the idea of warmth, both the feeling you get spending time together with family, friends or loved ones but also how certain garment properties allow us to stay warm during the winter months. It is important to wear the right material qualities for each season and for this limited-edition collection, we chose to work with soft fleece and UNIQLO’s functional HEATTECH thermal clothing technology.

Please tell us about any special New Year's traditions in Finland.

As a Dane, I am still getting to know all the Finnish traditions, but something that I share with the Finns is their love for all sorts of winter activities, such as snow shoeing, skiing, and ice-skating, especially ice-skating on the frozen lakes; something I experienced for the first time in Finland.

Please give us a message for fans of the UNIQLO x Marimekko collection.

Greetings from wintry Helsinki! We hope that our UNIQLO x Marimekko New Year 2024 limited edition collection will bring you warmth and joy for the New Year and for many years to come.


Rebekka Bay

Born 1969, Danish citizen
BA (Hons) in Fashion, Designskolen Kolding, Denmark
Primary work experience
2015–2017 Head of Design and Product, Everlane, New York
2012–2015 Creative Director EVP of Gap Global Design, Gap Inc., New York
2011–2012 Creative Director, Bruuns Bazaar, Copenhagen
2006–2011 Creative Director, COS, London

About Rebekka Bay

Rebekka Bay was appointed Marimekko’s Creative Director in September 2020. In her role, she leads Marimekko’s design and innovation teams and is responsible for the company’s design strategy for fashion, bags, and accessories as well as home products. Rebekka splits her time between Copenhagen and Helsinki.