There are a few certainties in life: death, taxes and IKEA. With a brand as big and iconic as this one, it seems most of the world has encountered an Ikea at some stage in their life, whether that’s in a bid for some new furniture, a mooch around the showrooms or on a pilgrimage to the Swedish meatballs.
If this sounds familiar, it’s not a stretch to suggest that you also will have encountered the Frakta – the iconic blue shopping tote. Whilst you may be accustomed to lugging around household objects in one, this may actually have been an unwitting fashion moment. People have been taking inspiration (and material) from these classic IKEA bags for years now, so we thought it was high time we looked at how IKEA became one of fashion’s most unlikely inspirations.
Well, as mentioned, there’s a certain charm to the kitchy yet familiar blue tote, and as they come for a mere 75p (or US$1), they’re the perfect canvas on which to get creative. A few years ago, we saw an explosion of DIY IKEA-derived bucket hats hit the scene, with creatives repurposing the iconic Fraka bag into the perfect waterproof bucket hat. As well as going viral in streetwear spaces online, IKEA itself actually took note, and released their official version ‘KNORVA’ back in 2020.
The ‘official’ IKEA bucket hat remains simple, almost matching the DIY hats that inspired it years before. Constructed from the Frakta bag’s blue polypropylene material, with the IKEA-branded handle added above the brim, the product’s description merely states that it’s a “hat” that is “easy to carry with you.” They definitely know how to get to the point.
Perhaps the most bizarre example of Ikea’s total fashion infiltration is the Balenciaga bag – an eye-watering US$2150 version of the classic Frakta, admittedly without the IKEA branding. While no direct references were made, the resemblance was uncanny: vibrant blue, giant size, trapezoid shape and the two sets of handles, long and short. The internet was quick to point out the similarities, and led to IKEA responding in a tongue-in-cheek post reminding their customers how to spot an ‘original’ Frakta.
Since then, Ikea fashion is still inspiring the masses. Instagram creators such as Julia Silver are taking things to the next level, using the iconic blue shopper to craft a whole fit. Demonstrating the ingenuity of the bags, Silver produced cargo style trousers and a gilet-type garment from the bag, adding zips and leaving the straps trailing. We’ll take 2, please
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