Marimekko was founded in 1951 by Viljo and Armi Ratia. The co-founder, Armi Ratia, considered Armi as the company's name, but it was already registered. Her middle name was Maria, shortened to Mari; her husband Viljo considered different names for women's clothing. In her home town of Koivisto, Armi heard people talking about dresses (Finnish: mekko), and so she came to the name Marimekko.

Marimekko Oyj is a Finnish home furnishings, textiles, and fashion company based in Helsinki. It made important contributions to fashion in the 1960s. It is particularly noted for its brightly colored printed fabrics and simple styles, used both in women's garments and in home furnishings.

Two designers in particular, Vuokko Nurmesniemi, with bold stripes, and Maija Isola, with large simple flowered prints such as the Unikko poppy, created hundreds of distinctive patterns and helped to make Marimekko a household name across the world.