Debut Marimekko x adidas Collection Blends the Art of Print and Performance

adidas and Marimekko have announced a new, limited collaboration that brings the iconic Finnish design house’s signature vibrant prints to sportswear for the first time ever. 

The debut collection is designed as an ode to the inner explorer in us all and features performance and lifestyle items spanning swimwear, cycling gear, outerwear, and more. The full lineup blends Marimekko’s art of printmaking and functional style with adidas’ design and material innovations in sports performance. 

“We are immensely proud to present this collection with adidas. Since Marimekko’s beginnings 70 years ago, our philosophy has been to empower people to be happy as they are through our colorful art of printmaking,” said Marimekko Creative Director Rebekka Bay in a press release announcing the first-time collaboration. “Marimekko’s bold prints fit adidas’ innovative and boundary-pushing sports apparel perfectly – this functional yet playful collection aims to spark the joy of exploration in everyday lives.”

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Standout pieces from the collection include a reimagined version of the adidas Originals woven tracksuit that features a Marimekko signature print. Each are sold as separates but are perfectly paired together for a full head-to-toe look. Marimekko utilizes important sustainable material alternatives including crafting the pieces with 100% recycled PES as well as Primegreen, adidas’ signature fabric developed using recycled materials. 

Another key piece using Primegreen in the collection includes the Marimekko x adidas shorts. These performance running shorts are available in two iconic Marimekko prints, one vivid red and the other monochrome. Along with Primegreen, it is also made adidas’ signature performance material AEROREADY in order to keep its wearer feeling dry while on the run. 

Other eco-friendly “must-haves” include the collection’s graphic cycling jersey coming in two different colorways and a slim silhouette. Similar to the running shorts, AEROREADY is used, but instead of Primegreen, adidas and Marimekko opted for Primeblue, the sportswear brand’s high performance recycled material made in part with Parley Ocean Plastic

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What’s maybe most exciting about this collaboration is that it was produced by all-female teams on both sides, promoting both inclusivity and sustainability, buzzwords that cannot be mentioned without one another. This ethos is shown within the campaign images that celebrate generational women across two relationship units — family and friends. “Strong, powerful women unite against the backdrop of stunning wilderness to connect through the joy of exploration – the force that keeps the community moving, progressing, in sport, art and life,” said the two brands in a press release.

The two companies may seem on separate ends for those unaware, especially at first glance – one focused on advancing sportwear and the other celebrated for its prints and colors. But there is much overlap between adidas and Marimekko especially when focusing on their shared priority for reducing environmental impact in materials and product development. 

“As a Finnish native I have grown up with Marimekko and have always held their designs close to my heart. The opportunity to collaborate with them, a brand who shares the same values of combining functionality and style whilst using more sustainable materials and methods, felt like such an exciting and natural opportunity,” said adidas VP of design Josephine Aberg. 

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Marimekko’s commitment to finding innovative, sustainable solutions include a collaboration kicked off in 2017 with materials startup Spinnova that led to producing a wood-based textile fiber that uses about 99% less water than conventional cotton production, and it’s fully recyclable. 

Additionally, the design house has explored natural dyes through a partnership with Natural Indigo Finland to produce alternatives using the woad plant on an industrial scale for the first time, as well as various industry by-products like onion skins. Upcycling has been a recent addition to its Earth-friendly efforts, seen in a recent home collection this year. 

As we’ve covered before, adidas’ ongoing eco-conscious work spans new recycling initiatives such as the “Made To Be Remade” Ultraboost and a product rental program that is currently being rolled out in Europe. The brand also uses Primegreen and Primeblue throughout various collections and drops including a reimagined version of the iconic Stan Smith using Primegreen, professional skateboarder Luis Puig’s new pro model using a knit upper created out of Primeblue, and its longtime collaboration with sustainably-focused designer Stella McCartney. All activities bring innovation not only to products but to designing and offering products with our planet in mind. Marimekko x adidas is yet another new chapter in this ongoing work. 

We got a chance to speak with Rebekka Bay of Marimekko and Josephine Aberg of adidas. Check it out below.

Why does Marimekko’s bold and colorful prints translate so well to sportswear?

RB: Marimekko’s mission is to bring joy to people’s everyday lives and to empower them to be happy as they are. Our dynamic prints gain a whole new dimension when they are combined with movement, especially in fabrics designed to support active body language.

At Marimekko, we have always celebrated the idea that you should be able to do anything in a dress, and through this collaboration we are really expanding on that thought by applying our art of printmaking on sustainable performance fabrications, and for the first time, collaborating with a true trailblazer within the sportswear world.

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If the Marimekko x adidas collection represented a challenge to the greater sportswear world, what would that challenge be? 

JA: The colorful prints of the adidas x Marimekko collection demonstrate that the functionality offered by sportswear and bold designs are not mutually exclusive. The challenge that emerges from this is driving unrestrained creativity into sportswear. In other words, creating a space for innovation as well as joy in sportswear which is often characterised by functionality first and foremost.

Being a collection produced predominantly by women, tell us why representation & inclusion is a huge part of the “sustainability” discussion in fashion?

RB: Representation and inclusion is not a new discussion, but it is of paramount importance as everyone deserves to feel included and empowered.  Striving for equality is one of the founding principles of Marimekko – we believe that there is no joy without equality. 

Since 1951, our purpose has centered around empowering people, and this collection together with adidas brings this mission to life bringing positivity and playfulness to the everyday.  That said, there is of course still a lot to be done in fashion, and we are committed to listen, learn and constantly strive to do better.

The Marimekko x adidas limited edition collection will be available on June 1 via adidas.com.