How has Ikea influenced the fashion industry?
On April 30th, Virgil Abloh, the founder of the famous streetwear fashion company Off-White, just launched a brand new product set with the help of Ikea. The interplay between fashion, design and interior is already an obvious combination, but what exactly has made the new creative director of Louis Vuitton, one the biggest names in the fashion world to choose an affordable, common label like Ikea?
In fact, Abloh's half-Dutch half-Sweden counterpart this time has had a lot of influence on the fashion industry, especially in the past two years.
Virgil Abloh introduced the new products in the collection alongside Henrik Most, Ikea's creative director.
1. INCREDIBLE RETAIL MODEL FOR FAST-FASHION INDUSTRY TO STUDY
75 years ago, Ikea entered the furniture business, where people tended to have longevity products that would last for at least 10 or 20 years, or could even be passed on from one generation to the next. But Ikea said no. They focus on producing beautiful, trendy, affordable but not necessarily durable designs. These are products that are made to be used right away... and thrown away when they get old or simply change.
Ikea has long been known for its fashionable and highly functional designs. (Photo: Ikea)
A pretty modern style guest room in Ikea's catalog in 1975. (Photo: businessinsider)
If you find this strategy familiar, it’s not a surprise. Do not we always do that with Zara shirts or H&M pants? It can be said that fast-fashion companies can not get the current business model without Ikea, which went ahead and completely changed the rules in retail.
2. THE CREATIVE "UNDERGROUND STREETWEAR"
No product can represent Ikea better than the "Frakta" bag. This is simply a bag of ultra-wide and durable polypropylene that people still buy for 0.99 cents to stash their purchases after shopping at Ikea. The "Frakta" bag was so popular that it was seen on Balenciaga's stage last year, this time with the name "Arena", made of leather and valued at over two thousand US dollars. Almost all of the online stores said that the creative director of the French fashion house was "referring a bit" the Ikea shopping bag.
On the left is Balenciaga's Arena bag. On the right is Ikea's humorous response: instructing clients to distinguish the true Frakta bag. (Photo: resume)
Although Demna Gvasalia was not the first to use this inspiration, with Balenciaga's influence, the fever called "Ikea" quickly became a unique phenomenon. During the whole month after, the iconic bright blue shade has covered social networking sites with all sorts of shapes, products from shoes, hats, marks, to even choker... designed by fashion lovers all around the world.
A wallet inspired by Frakta bag designed by netizens before Balenciaga. (Photo: @studioalch)
Ikea-styled buckle hat. (Photo: @studioalch)
Are you ready to wear this Ikea choker? (Photo: @ililtokyo)
3. COMBINE WITH MANY FASHION DESIGNERS
Ikea started to invite fashion designers to join the creation of its furniture two years ago. Originated from Europe with unpopular designers, stylists such as Katie Eary, Kit Neale or Bea Akerlund, the biggest step of this furniture giant was in 2017 with the collaboration with American designer and DJ Virgil Abloh.
British designer Kit Neale and Ikea launched a collection full of fun prints together. (Photo: we-are-scout)
In the live video in late April, Virgil Abloh shared the hope that young people will be more interested in furniture, just as they love sneakers. Here, we also see the import purpose of Ikea today: to attract customers in the age range from 18 to 25-30, those who start to buy the first furniture themselves in life and look for products that are similar to their style.
Some photos revealing the products designed by Virgil Abloh for Ikea. Like Balenciaga, the founder of Off-White has also chosen to refine the "legendary" shopping bag Frakta. (Photo: underthecover)
Stampd x Ikea Spanst, a streetwear-styled collection that includes items such as wardrobes, coffee tables, swivel chairs that focus on black and grey tones with a few hoodies. (Photo: ikea)
"We're not designing for the younger generation," said Henrik Most, creative director of the furniture brand with 355 stores worldwide. "We're doing it together with them. The process is extremely interesting and at the core of this collection we like to interact with the young Millennials and create the collection together with them so we can share insights: what do you want, what do need, what's relevant instead of we, as a company, pointing the big finger. We want to learn. We need to be aware that as a company we don't own the truth."
In the future, Ikea will not stop cooperation with other fashion designers. According to Most, they are aiming for more and more combined projects because they think things will get better as they work together.
By: Emma Chavez