A graduate of the Lahti Institute of Design, Mika Piirainen has designed for Marimekko since 1994. Over the years, his versatile collections have included clothing for women, men and children and a variety of accessories, such as Marimekko bags, hats, clogs and Marimekko umbrellas.
Mika Piirainen, how would you describe your own style as a designer?
I seek uncluttered forms and I make bold use of colour. The keywords are practicality, originality and minimalism. I like both light and heavy natural materials.
Where do you find the ideas for the garments that you design?
They come from everyday life. An idea can be inspired for example by an interesting person in the street, a memory from the past, an experience from travelling, being outdoors in nature, listening to music or watching a movie.
What’s it like to design at Marimekko?
This place has excellent opportunities for designing on a broad scale. I’ve had the opportunity to design fashions, interior decoration products, bags, shoes…
What do you think is the most important quality of a fashion designer?
The most important thing is ”garment sense”, combining the aesthetic, practical and three-dimensional aspects with a feel for materials.
Are there any artists or designers whose views and works you particularly respect?
Among film directors, I could mention Alfred Hitchcock and Pedro Almodóvar. In Finnish design, my great idols are Rut Bryk and Marimekko’s legendary Maija Isola.
Who would you like to see wearing a garment designed by you?
I design for all, from babies to grand old ladies. My oldest customer is an elegant 104-year-old! Of movie stars, I could choose any one of the female characters in Almodóvar’s films.
Please describe yourself briefly?
I’m a social recluse, calm and with a sense of humour.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by silence, music, films and nature. I dream of travelling, being able to see all the countries of the world.
If you weren’t a fashion designer, what would you do?
I’d be a gardener.
Just some of Mika Piirainen’s designs are below. Check our Mika Piiranen page for even more of his designs.