High end fashion brand Balenciaga have created their own version of the iconic, reusable IKEA Bag. But whilst IKEA’s version costs just 40 pence, Balenciaga’s will set you back a whopping £1,705!
And this isn’t the first time the luxury brand has taken inspiration from an low–end brand or product. They also designed their own version of the classic large, checked laundry bag.
Balenciaga aren’t the first fashion brand to be inspired by the reusable Frakta bag. In the summer of 2015 many brands were channeling supermarket chic and creating bag ranges based on shopping bags. Other brands have also ‘copied’ laundry bags, plastic carrier bags and other everyday low cost items.
Since the 5p bag charge has been introduced in the UK, brands are increasingly creating products influenced by tote bags and reusable carrier bags. Read more in Flat Pack Fashion – IKEA takes a swipe at Balenciaga’s Shopping Bag
It doesn't appear to make sense for high-end brands to be associated with low-value items. But it makes perfect sense for the fashion brands as it can create unrivalled PR & brand exposure. Here's how...
High-end v Low-end: creating brand awareness
For the high-end brand
It may seem like madness to spend thousands of pounds on an item that looks like something much cheaper. It seems so ridiculous that the product is quickly picked up by the fashion & style press as well as other influencers like bloggers. They start to write articles about it and now the product is being widely seen on social media, is creating a buzz and influencing consumers.
The juxtaposition of high/low value creates something to talk about and can turn news of a product launch viral. Initially, people may scoff at the idea of paying so much for a low value item. But all the while you're improving brand recognition and gaining valuable PR. The more it’s talked about the more attitudes soften and change - many fashions are often laughed at when first launched. But eventually, resistance lessens and sales grow!
For the low-end brand
IKEA have wasted no time in making the most of the branding & marketing opportunity presented to them by the launch of Balenciaga's new bag. They initially released a statement saying they were ‘deeply flattered’.that Balenciaga had based their design on the Frakta bag.
Then they published an ad to help consumers spot an expensive 'fake' Frakta bag. It’s full of helpful advice like:
The ad sent the internet crazy and there is a huge amount of activity on the #Frakta hashtag. People are finding many other fashionable ways of re-purposing Frakta bags, ranging from shoes, clothes, accessories and even a thong!
And the buzz isn't dying down - it originally started around 20th April 2017. At the time of writing this blog on 18th May, the hashtag is still going
strong - someone is even offering design classes on how to turn Frakta's into fashion!
Both brands are winners in the resulting social media storm, but Ikea have really taken the opportunity and run with it. They are generating unbeatable PR as designers and members of the public clamour to post their images of re-purposed Frakta bags. What started as a reaction to Balenciaga's bag launch has turned into a unstoppable social media juggernaut that is showing no signs of stopping yet!
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