How IKEA infiltrated the world of fashion

How IKEA infiltrated the world of fashion

by Stella Hughes
3 min

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 department.

If this sounds familiar, it’s not a stretch to suggest that you also will have encountered the FRAKTA – the iconic blue shopping tote which has become an unwitting fashion moment of its own accord. 

There’s a certain charm to the kitschy yet familiar blue tote – which may explain the explosion of DIY FRAKTA-derived bucket hats which popped up a few years ago. As well as going viral in streetwear spaces online, the Swedish furniture company itself actually took note, releasing the ‘KNORVA’ (a ‘legit’ IKEA bucket hat) back in 2020. This wasn’t the brand’s first foray into the world of headwear, though. Previously IKEA had inspired LA-based brands Pleasures and Market

Perhaps the most prominent? bizarre? example of IKEA’s total fashion infiltration is the influence it had on Demna’s Balenciaga – it dropping the infamous Arena Extra Large Shopper Tote, which came in an “Extra Large” price point of $2,150. Obviously, Balenci’s version came without the homeware giant’s lettering. Instead, the resemblance was served via a vibrant blue hue, its oversized 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.  to create a six-panelled baseball hat, priced at £29 / $38.

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Fashion’s obsession with IKEA was heard loud and clear, at least by its Japanese branch. In 2020, IKEA Japan released the furniture brand’s first ever clothing and accessories line and honestly, it was giving exactly what it needed to give. The line consisted of 10 items which included a barcode graphic tee, hoodies, totes, an umbrella, water bottle and towel all decorated with the beloved blue-and-yellow logo.

Blurring the lines between art, fashion and design, IKEA knew what it was doing when it tapped some of fashion’s most influential artistic forces. We all remember Virgil Abloh’s “WET GRASS” floor mat, but that’s not all. In 2021, adidas and IKEA joined forces to create “RÖRLIGHET,” a collaboration that merged home decor and furniture with healthy lifestyle habits. We were also blessed with a Daniel Arsham collab, the artist who has worked with the likes of Dior and held his own fashion show in Paris earlier this year. The result came in the form of seemingly flying clocks, drones and an oversized offset screwdriver.

Since then, IKEA fashion is still inspiring the (creative) masses. Creators such as Julia Silver have used the iconic blue shopper to craft a whole fit. Bryan Boy just took his Birkin to IKEA – and in sharing the same colours, dubbed it the “Crocodile IKEA Birkin.”

We’re into it. Are you?

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