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Kaj Franck Design Prize 1997:
Designer Vuokko Nurmesniemi

Vuokko Nurmesniemi is one of the internationally best-known influential figures in Finnish fashion who was already involved in establishing the reputation of Finnish design in the 1950s.

With its choice, the prize jury wished to express its recognition of Nurmesniemi's work as an artist and designer who has significantly renewed her field and whose design of fashions and fabrics for garments and interiors are part of the basis of design and applied art in Finland. The jury particularly noted her role in establishing the line followed by the Marimekko company.

Originally trained as a ceramist, Vuokko Nurmesniemi gained her professional reputation, however, as a textile and fashion designer. Her works include many products that have gone on to become classics, such as Marimekko's Jokapoika shirt, which has been made since the 1950s. Later she continued fashion design with her own Vuokko label. Nurmesniemi has received many important distinctions both in Finland and abroad. The Gold Medal that she won at the Milan Triennial of 1957 has been followed by the Pro Finlandia medal in 1968, the State Prize of Design in 1968 and the Finland Prize in 1999, among other awards. In 2000 Vuokko Nurmesniemi was given the title of Fashion Designer of the Year by the MTO Fashion Designers' Association of Finland.