For those of you who may not have heard, last year the IKEA x OFF-WHITE collaboration was announced to the world. Now, I don’t know about you, but this has sent my tiny heart into meltdown as I wait for this highly anticipated collection of homeware goods to come to fruition. But what can we expect from this merging of two minds?
Virgil Abloh, the man behind Off-White has been causing quite the stir online thanks to his über cool aesthetic and skills at secrecy around the collaboration.
The information is, sadly, still quite scarce. Even the release date is somewhat of a mystery having not been confirmed yet, but from some of the clues in the imagery, we can (hopefully) expect the collection to come at some point in 2018 if not 2019.
Thanks to the wide range of homeware products available at IKEA, we can only hope and assume that Virgil is going to be bringing us quite the assortment of goodies to fill our homes with.
Now, we don’t have a full list of products that will get the Off-White treatment, but there are a few that have already made their way on to social media.
Now, when you think of IKEA, the ideas of flatpack and affordable furniture circle through your head. But there’s one item that has been purchased millions of times round the world and it usually goes unnoticed.
That, of course, is the classic FRAKTA bag which has become a staple of IKEA’s design thanks to its Balenciaga‘s £1,600 equivalent to the 50p plastic bag that saw the light of day back in 2017.
The bag has now become somewhat of an ‘anti-fashion’ fashion statement with numerous people customising the bag and using it as base materials for other designs including; shoes, hats and even bras.
When IKEA first announced the collaboration back in 2017, the first thing we saw from the Off-White designs was a reinvention of the FRAKTA bag.
Off-White has gone down a much more tasteful path. The bag has abandoned the bold blue plastic colourings for a more tasteful envelope beige with cream straps and the world “SCULPTURE” across the bag in bold black letters.
Of course Virgil wasn’t going to abandon the idea of giving the infamous big blue bag a makeover. This simple shopping bag now has an cool streetwear feel that you’d gladly take wherever you go.
The photo of the “SCULPTURE” bag was taken in IKEA’s prototypes lab so we aren’t sure whether or not this will make the final cut. But after the popularity and social media attention from Balenciaga’s FRAKTA inspired leather hold-all, it would be surprising for Virgil Abloh to abandon the idea.
Say “YES” To Rugs
From what we’ve seen on Instagram so far, it would appear that the collaboration will feature at least two rug designs. Virgil gave us a sneak peek on social media of a giant red rug with the word “BLUE” in a blue bold font through the middle.
The second design we’ve seen was of a monochromatic interpretation of an Indian rug design. Again, with words to accompany, this rug says “KEEP OFF” in bold white letters.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve become a serious rug addict and I hope to own both these designs (and whatever else is coming our way).
Sadly, that’s all the designs we’ve been able to check out so far. But with the Off-White designs kept firmly under lock and key, you know we’re going to be in for a treat.
A Millennials Paradise
Now, millennials get a pretty shitty wrap if truth be told. It’s all “when I was your day I already had a house” and “you snowflakes are always moaning about something”, but in reality, the millennial generation is worse off than when our parents were our age.
Knowing these modern day struggles, the IKEA x OFF-WHITE collaboration set their target market firmly on the millennial first-time-buyers.
The IKEa website put out a statement which says “together, IKEA and OFF-WHITE look for ways to help create a home for millennials who are just starting out their lives.”
“We’re looking at that first phase of adult life, when you start making purchases for your space. Largely people grow up in their parents’ environment. They’ve never had to consider furniture. Then when they’re off on their own and have their own aesthetic, what are their first purchases? I’m interested in thinking about how those purchases are informed.” — Virgil Abloh
It’s a shame really that these days most brands don’t target the youth of today. IKEA has always been an affordable brand for easy to assemble and modern furnishings that perfectly aid the transitional period of parents’ house to first house.
The Life Of A First Time Buyer
I myself have found myself in the difficult position of buying a first house. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m so damn excited to get the keys and move in (it will hopefully be in the next week or so) and one of the main things that keeps rushing through my brain is the thought of affordable furniture. I’ve already been given quite a few hand-me-downs which is kind but I want my first house to be filled with my own aesthetics.
So, with Virgil on the team, us first-time-buyers are going to be in for a real treat when it comes to cool furnishings in a reasonable price range. Bravo, Virgil, Bravo.
What Else Could We Get?
Though it seems unlikely, we may get a couple of items of clothing in the collaboration. Afterall, Katie Eary who previously collaborated with IKEA back in 2016 did bring us a couple of t-shirts as well as her range of homeware. Who knows, we may even get a small clothing range in the store too.
Whatever the outcome, I just hope this collaboration comes soon, because I’m gagging for some interesting furnishings.
Yesterday I had the pleasure to attend a series of talks from some of my favourite working professionals in the fashion industry.
The event was arranged @FashionInLeeds and @LeedsIntFest and has had small catwalks, talks and presentations from a wide variety of fashion and technology based talent which started on the 22nd of April and runs through to the 30th.
The three speakers I had the privilege of listening to were; Lulu Kennedy MBE who is the founder of Fashion East and MAN, bold print designer and collaboration queen Katie Eary and “Remade In England” sustainability designer Christopher Raeburn.
The first of the three speakers I attended was Christopher Raeburn who is best known for recycling military materials such as life rafts, maps and parachutes. He talked us through some of his fashion films and his inspirations behind his collections and materials. The ‘Meridian‘ video from his Spring/Summer 2015 collection was a visual masterpiece using CGI to recreate his garments and showing an artistic story of the materials used in a somewhat Matrix style of dressing.
(Side story… The last time I met Christopher Raeburn, we were locked out of an Agi & Sam after party (with Agi) and had to tell the doorwoman that the person who was left outside with us was actually the person hosting the party.)
Katie Eary spoke heavily about her career building around collaborations and the importance of building an identity and the opportunities others can give you to build a brand. Katie has collaborated with some incredibly diverse brands including; Kanye West, KFC and IKEA. She spoke a lot about her groundbreaking collaboration with IKEA as the first fashion designer to work with this homeware giant and about the long process of designing home furnishings, plates and bedding.
I have been such a fan of Katie Eary’s work. She was one of the first designers I had the pleasure of seeing during my first ever season of London Collections: Men (now known as London Fashion Week Men’s – christ I still hate this re-branding) and I still remember her bright pink flamingo collection to this day.
Lulu Kennedy MBE is a woman I have wanted to meet for quite a long time but never had the chance to. Fashion East and MAN are two incredibly influential and important companies to grace the British fashion scene. I’ve been lucky enough to attend many of the Fashion East and MAN collections and these showcases have been a great source of inspiration to me as I have inspired a lot of my work around some of these designers who have been spotlighted through these companies. Charles Jeffrey, Katie Eary, Bobby Abley and Gareth Pugh are all designers who I have used as inspiration for various photo shoots and visual projects.
With these talks being relatively small in numbers (and the fact they were hosted inside a shipping container in the middle of Briggate high street) meant that as a group we had the opportunity to talk to each of the guests and have quite an intimate Q&A. Though this was a huge bonus for me, it was a shame to see such influential speakers be in the presence of such a small crowd. Events and talks like these in Leeds are definitely infrequent but are highly valued. Leeds College of Art is an incredibly established art school and with many other designers and artists coming from the Northern territories of England I believe it should have more of a direct address in these areas as a lot of focus (naturally) is on London and London art school graduated designers. I always enjoy listening to designers, artists and industry professionals talking about their careers and experiences and I definitely feel that these events would not go amiss in Leeds.Please, please, PLEASE can we get more incredible speakers like these heading to Leeds in the near future, not just for my sake but for the hundreds of fashion students and industry workers Leeds has to offer!