IKEA's Response To The $2,145 Version Of Its 99-Cent Bag Is Everything

In an act of sheer, sass-filled genius, IKEA has responded to claims that Balenciaga’s tote is a take on its ubiquitous 99-cent Frakta carryall. To catch you up to speed: Earlier this month, we filled you in on a Balenciaga tote that looked oddly similar to IKEA’s iconic shopping bag, except for the giant price differential: the luxury label's version costs $2,145, compared to the Swedish chain's less-than-a-dollar original.
Well, IKEA has responded, reasserting that their tote is, indeed, the OG giant blue tote. Designed by Swedish creative agency ACNE, the ad gives people the low-down on how to distinguish an original Frakta bag from a fake – or, in this case, from Balenciaga’s version. As for why they chose to respond and just how they pulled it off, ACNE creative director Johan Holgrem figured photographer Anders Kylberg could shoot the Frakta in-studio within mere hours of the release of Balenciaga’s lookalike tote, and why not play along?
Holgrem considers the nod from the French fashion house "unexpected and brilliant,” as he told Creativity. "I like the flirt, and thought, ‘Why not flirt back?’ And we did.” The requirements, by the way, are as follows (our favorite is number three): "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. Price tag: Only $0.99."
And, sorry, but they’re right on all counts. The shade here is blinding, so if we could add a fifth pro-tip to the ad, we’d say "It doubles as a shade cover as well." IKEA: 1, Balenciaga: 0.
This story was originally published on April 13, 2017.
Luxury fashion has a knack for trolling us time and time again. By now, we've grown numb to the ungodly prices of some of retail's must-have items. Want a Gucci bag? It could easily be equivalent to a month's food budget. How about that Cartier Love bracelet? That might be roughly the cost of a downpayment on your dream home. Sticker shock is what fuels the knockoff industry, which is problematic on so many levels. But sometimes, the all-too-faithful imitations can go in the opposite direction, and we just can't get behind it. Take, for example, Balenciaga's latest accessory.
The French luxury label just released their Arena Extra-Large Shopper Tote Bag and its price is pretty staggering given its striking resemblance to another, far cheaper bag. The tote looks a lot like Ikea's massive FRAKTA bag, which just might double as your laundry bag (and it also becomes particularly useful when moving day rolls around). But the problem here is that, despite the difference in straps and materials (Balenciaga's is "wrinkled, glazed leather" and Ikea's is plastic), the prices are at complete opposite ends of the spectrum: $2,145 vs. 99 cents, respectively.
While we're down with aspirational fashion, like, say, couture or custom wedding gowns, it's nearly impossible to convincingly explain the reasoning behind this $2,145 bag when there's one that's probably more functional and durable...and costs less than $1. We don't know, but whoever cops one of these bad boys must have a lot of cash to burn.
Photo: Courtesy of Barneys New York.
Balenciaga was the subject of another bag conundrum when they sent down comforter bags down the runway at Paris Fashion Week. They'd go on to sell for thousands of dollars, when really, you could just make your way to your nearest Chinatown and snag the real deal for $15. And, if you can believe it, they did it again with those striped laundry totes. Their Bazar bags retailed for more than $2,000, but really, were just copies of Thailand laundry bags that cost $2. We're not sure what's going on chez Balenciaga, but can somebody tell Demna that while we appreciate the play on consumerism, for those of us that actually want to buy your into your creative vision, these absurdly marked-up versions of ordinary, non-lux items is taking a toll on our psyches.
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