When IKEA Meets Virgil Abloh. Through work in progress collection MARKERAD, Swedish warehouse behemoth speaks the millennial language by collaborating with one of the most powerful designers of the generation.
When the younger generations are so-called investing their money on products and items, brands are taking the time to really understand and dissect their spending habits. Smaller brands may have an easy way of putting such effort to speak to them closely and more intimately. Bigger brands, not so much.
IKEA took a big leap of speaking to pool of their large audience now and in the next few years. By understanding their purchasing habits and riding on today’s trends, the big warehouse recently collaborated with named designer Virgil Abloh of Off-White to create a full collection of product lines. The product line named “MARKERAD” is a millennial-focused collection that fuses the bold wordings and labels found in Off-White Abloh-designed products. Pieces of the collection include the shaved “BLUE” rug contrasting the bold red color, cardboard paper-like versions of FRACKTA bags with bold wording “SCULPTURE” declaring themselves a piece of, well, art. Other bold furnishings include a classic Persian-style woven rug with a “KEEP OFF” headline woven into it, which makes a witty, satirical play against the classic dainty “home sweet home” front porch rugs. Recreating and making products look premium to the intended targets may seem simple. But to really capture the attention and make furniture truly a distinct and fresh piece of home accessory, is another challenge. Off-White designer, Abloh has recently said through the live stream, “the essence of this project is not just designing something cool for cool’s sake … I’m trying to invest an artistic quality in things that you already have.” The haute streetwear founder and now artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton believes garners his belief in the art of curating. The more items are created for artistic and investment purposes, the more the millennial generations will purchase items not just for a short-terms’ sake but rather, for a long-term purpose with value.
Unlike the previous generations, the millennial generation has the splurging tendencies where spending is intended for comforts and conveniences. A sense of investment runs low when hoarding products of petty value run high in their habits. Although research shows that the millennial generation is likely to regularly monitor their financial accounts and are much more knowledgeable about them, their spending habits could one day derail their long-term planning (cnbc.com). This is what the collection intends to speak of; it’s much about spending and investing in products that are well-curated and of value in the long-term. To Abloh, this collection is intended to have the same kind of excitement that the millennial have with spending shoes, like Nike for instance.
Following that certain hype and excitement shouldn’t only be associated with the latest Nike release or the latest H&M or UNIQLO collaboration. Abloh mentioned “I want to bring a sense of pride to these items. Look at the positive side of the word ‘hype.’ It may just be sneakers but they come from a halo and if you own them, there’s a different sense of pride … if we can make that same halo effect, that aura, for a chair, a credenza, a rug, or a display case, then you have a sense of pride in it. You can always appreciate and notice the design, instead of only when it’s broken.”
With the excitement lingering on Abloh’s side, IKEA is as much excited to see the entire collection roll this summer. With the audience shifting and trends changing it’s great to see brands seeping millennial trends and humming their way into the scene. Said to be affordable and “be within IKEA’s price range”, this is a great breath of fresh air for the big warehouse and also for the generation to, hopefully, make a worthy investment for their homes.