You know it by sight and sound. That crinkly blue plastic behemoth into which you can throw your innumerable Ikea wares—tealight candles and holders, various pillows, a picture frame or three, maybe a Billy bookcase for good measure—and then leave it behind at the store when you exit with the other hangry-exhausted shoppers.
It would *seem* that French luxury brand, Balenciaga drew inspiration from the basic Ikea bag with their new Arena Extra-Large Shopper Tote. While the designer tote boasts a ‘wrinkled, glazed leather’ finish with a gold-stamped logo in a very familiar shade of blue, the price reads a whopping $2,893. The Ikea tote will cost you $1. That leaves you with plenty of loose change to splurge on a soft-serve cone. (P.S. this isn’t the first time the luxury brand has pulled design ideas from everyday items.)
Balenciaga’s not the only brand to fall in love with the utilitarian shopper. In 2018 Ikea will make room on the shelf beside the yellow and blue Frakta bag thanks to a design partnership with French retailer Colette. The iconic varsity colour scheme will be swapped out for a minimalist all-white background with Colette’s trademark blue dot logo and royal blue polka dots adorning either side for a cute shopper you actually might consider using outside the store.
Surprisingly, this isn’t the only makeover that the workhorse Ikea bag is getting. Danish designer HAY is reimagining the Frakta in white and green shades and, perhaps the most daring change, ditching the plastic for woven fabric with this iteration. The YPPERLIG collection will also include home products and accessories when it launches this October.
Clearly the Ikea Colette and HAY collabs, and Balenciaga’s not-so-subtle remake, signal that utilitarian bags are having a moment as retailers and consumers dabble with function AND fashion, at prices that range from reasonable to strictly designer. Scroll through for some of our other favourite fashionable carry-alls.