The $2,000 Designer Ikea Bag

Credit: Adweek | IKEA For whatever reason, fashion has really been feeling Ikea. Yes, Ikea, the furniture store. I mean, I get it, what's not to love? Where else can you get Swedish delicacies like meatballs and reasonably priced assemble-it-yourself bookcases? I own three of the Kallax shelf units and love them all dearly. But recently high fashion French label Balenciaga decided to highlight an Ikea product, and it was neither a piece of sturdy furniture nor their delicious food.

Last week, Balenciaga reveled its newest bag, a large blue leather tote that bares a striking resemblance to the sustainable and iconic Ikea blue bag. The main difference between the two? Try $2,144.01. Yep, Balenciaga’s version retails for a whopping $2,145, while you can snag Ikea’s for just $0.99.

In case you didn’t know, Balenciaga’s creative director, Demna Gvasalia, is also head designer for his own label, Vetements, AKA the brand that will charge you $2,000 for a one-piece Juicy Couture jumpsuit. Vetements is known for its outrageous clothing pieces and sky-high prices, collaborating with blue-collar brands like Champion and Hanes to create overly exaggerated silhouettes retailing in the $500- $1,000+ range. Until now, Gvasalia has kept his Balenciaga and Vetements design aesthetics relatively separate; however, given the new Ikea “collaboration,” it seems the line is beginning to blur.

To ensue even more hilarity, Ikea’s response to the tote was perfect. In a newly released advertisement, the Swedish brand poked fun at its copycat with a photo of its $0.99 tote under a headline reading “The Original.”

Credit: Adweek / IKEA

Underneath, the caption states:

How to identify an original Ikea FRAKTA bag

  1. Shake it. If it rustles, it’s the real deal.
  2. Multifunctional. It can carry hockey gear, bricks, and even water.
  3. Throw it in the dirt. A true FRAKTA is simply rinsed off with a garden hose when dirty.
  4. Fold it. Are you able to fold it to the size of a small purse? If the answer is yes, congratulations.
  5. Look inside. The original has an authentic Ikea tag.
  6. Price tag. Only $0.99.

Though Balenciaga has not addressed the likeness of its design and Ikea’s, given Gvasalia’s fondness for witty fashion banter (example: his integration of parody “VeteMemes” into Vetements), it’s safe to say that there was definitely some strategic imitation occurring.

In addition to fashionably trolling Balenciaga, Ikea has teamed up with streetwear designer Chris Stamp to release a furniture collection. While Stamp is used to designing clothes for his brand, STAMPD, he’s excited to collaborate with the Swedish furniture company and translate his clothing design aesthetics into the medium of furniture. It’ll be interesting to see how Ikea’s audience receives Stamp’s pieces given his unconventional streetwear background. The roughly 30-unit collection will reportedly feature tables, clothes racks, lighting fixtures, footwear storage and more. Its release is set for May 2018, and although no exact pricing is available, the line will certainly be in Ikea’s affordable price range, meaning more meatballs for everyone.