Marimekko Teams With Uniqlo, Sabina Bilenko Lands in Harrods – WWD

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TOGETHER AGAIN: Marimekko, the Finnish design house, has again partnered with Uniqlo, the Japanese global apparel retailer, for a limited-edition collection to be released in early 2024.

The collection combines Marimekko’s art of printmaking with Uniqlo’s LifeWear of simple and high-quality everyday clothing. It will be offered in Uniqlo stores and at in all markets, starting Jan. 1.

The products are designed at Uniqlo’s international headquarters in Tokyo’s Ariake District. New color combinations for Marimekko prints are created at its headquarters in Helsinki. The collection’s items are manufactured in Vietnam, Indonesia and China. Retail prices range from 7.90 euros to 34.90 euros.

Marimekko and Uniqlo first started collaborating in 2018, and have done six limited-edition collaborations.

“We are excited to reunite with Uniqlo for this new limited-edition collaboration collection that brings together Marimekko’s art of printmaking with Uniqlo’s commitment to create high-quality clothing that is functional and democratic for everyone’s daily lifestyle. Limited-edition brand collaborations with wide global reach increase Marimekko’s international brand awareness and this way support our growth strategy, especially in international markets,” said Sanna-Kaisa Niikko, chief marketing officer of Marimekko. “We believe that this collaboration is a great opportunity to introduce Marimekko to large new audiences around the world — and to offer customers something fun and surprising.”

According to Marimekko, brand collaborations typically generate licensing income to the brand in the Asia-Pacific region in the second and third quarters of 2023.

A look from the Marimekko x Uniqlo collaboration.

Courtesy of Marimekko.

Yukihiro Katsuta, head of research and development for Uniqlo, added, “We are delighted to collaborate with Marimekko once again. The latest line combines Uniqlo’s signature simplicity with Marimekko’s beautiful prints inspired by Nordic nature and wildlife. The collection is designed to be enjoyed with family and friends and is perfect for staying warm. I hope everyone can enjoy this special collection available for a limited time only.”

The collection includes Uniqlo’s soft fleece outfits and functional Heattech, as well as a light shoulder bag for both women and children, and socks. Marimekko’s prints featured are the Kivet, Kissapollo, Seireeni by Maija Isola, and Hattara by Pentti Rinta. Each pattern is inspired by Nordic nature, in colors such as pearl grays, muted gold and black. — LISA LOCKWOOD

Handbags in the Marimekko x Uniqlo collaboration.

Handbags in the Marimekko x Uniqlo collaboration.

Courtesy of Marimekko.

HARRODS BOUND: Sabina Bilenko is building on its bespoke business, launching a high ready-to-wear line in-store and online at Harrods.

Founded by Uzbekistani-born twin sisters, Sabina and Diana Bilenko at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the London-based brand draws inspiration from their past.

“We were born in Uzbekistan where there is a rich history of craftsmanship, particularly in jewelry and ornamental and gold embroidery,” said Sabina Bilenko.

“Everyone always thinks of Paris as the city of couture, but we are so proud to be based in London as there is actually an incredible pool of talented seamstresses and it is important to us to keep this skill and craft going in the city and ensure it moves on to the next generation,” Diana Bilenko added.

With its intricate beading, jewel tones, and cinched silhouettes, the label’s ready-to-wear line nods to couture craftsmanship.

Bejeweled detailing nods to the label’s atelier.

Courtesy of Sabina Bilenko

“After the success of our couture launch, we were keen to offer the Sabina Bilenko world to a new client as well as allow our existing clients to shop with us for different occasions. With ready-to-wear we have been able to offer more casual pieces but still with the Sabina Bilenko handwriting,” said Sabina Bilenko.

The sisters cite Polish painter Tamara de Lempicka, best known for her Art Deco portraits depicting 20th century aristocrats, as a key reference, seen in the sensuous slashes, pleats and folds throughout the collection’s offerings. 

Make no mistake: While utterly feminine, like those de Lempicka models, the clothing is functional, too — not just for lounging about. Encompassing dresses, mini and maxi, for day or night, skirt suits, and trousers, the collection carries a sartorial edge that makes it perfect for any occasion.

The brand’s ready-to-wear launch at Harrods came about after a pop-up for the label’s line earlier in the year at the department store was met with positive reception, a natural evolution of their past collaboration.

A mini-dress from the collection's new line.

A minidress from the collection’s new line.

Courtesy of Sabina Bilenko

“The Sabina Bilenko woman is very international, which is why we love having our showroom in London as we are able to see our clients from all over the world. She is someone who is independent, elegant, travels, appreciates craftsmanship, true quality and she knows what she wants,” said Sabina Bilenko.

Fans of the glamorous brand include India Amarteifio, Fan Bing Bing, Nazanin Boniadi, and Ciara. — VIOLET GOLDSTONE

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