Annika Rimala was a driven Marimekko designer who used cheerful patterns and liberating shapes to define her fashion sensibilities. A student of graphic arts at the Institute of Industrial Arts of in Helsinki, she was encouraged to work at Marimekko by the keen eye of her neighbor. Her first job at Marimekko was in the children’s department in 1959 but within one year, her focused attitude led her to a design position in the factory. Eventually Rimala became Marimekko’s chief fashion designer and her innovative ideas led to her reign the design department for over 20 years from 1960 to 1982.
From the very start, Rimala’s fabrics were met with great success and by 1962 she had gained international success when her designs appeared in Look and Life magazines. In the beginning, Rimala’s prints were small-patterned and reserved but as her popularity grew so did the scale of her prints. Brimming with bold colors and large imagery inspired by the era’s youth culture, Rimala began to blossom as a designer. Continuing to gain popularity, Rimala’s work was featured in more magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazar and Elle.
The creator of many famous prints such as Petrooli, Pallo and most importantly the Tasaraita stripe stretch cotton, her ability to think beyond gender, size and age allowed her to appeal to the masses while retaining stylish know-how.