The fashion industry — and the world at large, really — has poked plenty of fun at the recent chicness of Ikea's classic "Frakta" bag. The royal blue totes, made from polypropylene and priced at a reasonable 99 cents, seemed to inspire one of Demna Gvasalia's creations for Balenciaga: the "Arena" bag, which retails for $2,145, done up in leather and a similar shade of blue. Not only did Ikea, itself, call out the French house in a cheeky advertisement back in April but now the Swedish furniture company has announced a collaboration with a different buzzy fashion designer.
"Some of you guessed it! @virgilabloh @off____white prototyping a fresh take on the FRAKTA bag in IKEA's very own prototype shop in Älmhult," begins Ikea's Instagram caption. A quote from Virgil Abloh follows: "We're in a moment where IKEA is transcending, and people are bringing this 'do it yourself' culture to the blue bag. What I'm most interested in is doing that process in partnership with the brand. It's allowing me to put my opinion on a classic. It's unique, and distinctly as much of off-white as it's IKEA."
Abloh also sat down with Marcus Engman, Ikea's head of design, during the "Ikea Democratic Design Days" on Wednesday (which you can watch above — Abloh comes on about 19 minutes in) to announce their collaboration. Their discussion was vague, but it was clear that the partnership will extend beyond the bags, which Abloh brought on stage. The focus of Abloh's project, we surmise, will be creating solutions for young people in small spaces. He and Engman even threw out the idea of designing a college dormitory together. Engman said he was drawn to Abloh because of his background in architecture, while Abloh said he wanted to collaborate with Ikea to "spread the message of good design and sustainability."
So, it sounds like there's more to come for this unlikely but also not entirely surprising partnership, though we have to wonder if it might stir up some bad blood or jealousy from Abloh's peers. Perhaps Gvasalia hoped his own design would get him a meeting with Ikea. And remember when Abloh's former employer Kanye West tweeted that he wanted to work with the brand? Regardless of whether or not it includes another fashion beef, we look forward to seeing what Abloh cooks up.
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