Swedish flatpack furniture giant IKEA has attempted to boost its street cred by previewing an edgy new collection in collaboration with American streetwear designer Virgil Abloh.
On Tuesday, customers received their first glimpse of Abloh’s MARKERAD collection in an online livestream, with social media reaction to the new designs split into two camps: those desperate to buy a piece and those confused by his artistic vision.
Specifically aimed at millennial shoppers, the new collection features pieces like a red rug emblazoned with the word “blue” and a Persian carpet that reads “keep off”, plus a new take on the iconic blue IKEA FRACKTA shopping bag.
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. "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". Photo @piotrniepsuj . #IKEAtoday #Collaborationpartner #virgilabloh #offwhite #IKEADDD
A post shared by IKEA Today (@ikeatoday) on
“ IKEA x VIRGIL ABLOH “ pic.twitter.com/IOyByzxafM
— ✨Nat✨ (@nat_monster) May 1, 2018
Reaction to the collection was mixed, but many felt the ironic pieces were trying a bit too hard to be cool.
“All this dude does is put words with “” and that’s it,” one commenter wrote on a Facebook post by streetwear blog Hypebeast.
“Maybe he’s trolling us,” another commenter suggested.
“Somebody stop this man,” a third joked.
Others were more enthusiastic. “I want it ALL,” one fan wrote on Twitter.
— ZH (@zaeeemh) April 30, 2018
What this new Virgil X IKEA colab looks like😂🤦🏼♂️ pic.twitter.com/yX74XWeoo5
— montana (@fadelachour) April 30, 2018
Abloh, a 38-year-old Ghanian-American, is a big name in the fashion world, having been appointed men’s artistic director at French label Louis Vuitton in March this year.
But Abloh is arguably better-known for his ultra-trendy Italian streetwear label, Off-White, which flogs utilitarian hoodies and track pants for prices that typically soar above the $1000 mark.
The brand has plenty of celebrity fans – almost all of them below the age of 25, like Justin Bieber and Bella Hadid.
Abloh once described his ideal customer as, “the girl who wears [French luxury label] Céline, the guy who wears [US streetwear brand] Supreme, but they’re together, they share a closet”.
For his IKEA collection, Abloh said he hoped to “put my opinion on a classic”.
“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,” he said.
It’s not yet known when or where the collection will be released, with an Australian IKEA representative unable to confirm whether or not the collection will make its way Down Under.
Based on the social media storm incited by the preview, however, most shoppers won’t get a chance to see the pieces in the flesh regardless of their location, with the collection expected to fly off shelves.