Whether it is a walk down Bermondsey Street in London for grocery shopping, or carrying her amazing dresses to shows, fashion designer Zandra Rhodes will hang a hardworking IKEA bag over her shoulder. But it won’t be the iconic blue one, it will be her own pink version. And yes, of course, it will have ruffles. Zandra’s take on the FRAKTA bag will be in the coming KARISMATISK collection.
“The FRAKTA bag is IKEA! The bag could not be left out of the KARISMATISK collection and I was so excited to have my take on one of the most famous and identifiable IKEA products,” says Zandra.
Together with Zandra Rhodes, the British pattern and textile designer dubbed the ‘Princess of Punk’, IKEA decided to explore how Zandra’s vibrant style and bold patterns can be designed in an IKEA home context. Fashion and function go hand in hand, and the result is a collection with unique and expressive pieces.
The idea about the bag came to the design team straight away during the first workshop in Älmhult where Paulin Machado, inhouse designer at IKEA, and Zandra first met and immediately dived into patterns and colours.
“It is wonderful being able to go all out with both patterns and colours. Zandra is phenomenal at this, this simmering stew of bold patterns and bright colours that cooks up to something tantalising and beautiful. I want, like, all of it! I am impressed by the open and inviting way in which ideas and concepts are explored in this collaboration. It is a super democratic way of working, where all ideas are welcome,” says Paulin.
Zandra Rhodes and IKEA designer Paulin Machado.
Both Zandra and Paulin describe the design process as organic and genuine, and a lot of fun too, and samples were shipped back and forth between the IKEA prototype shop in Älmhult and the designs studio in London before they decided on a final design.
“The IKEA team really get the Zandra Rhodes aesthetic and because of this we just bounce off one another. The design process has been organic and genuine, and this is seen throughout the whole collection — with the bag being the pinnacle of this!”, says Zandra.
Zandra, describe the sample of the bag you have in your studio now!
“Our bag is the perfect synergy of both IKEA and Zandra Rhodes Studio, using the material of the original FRAKTA and playing with the shape by incorporating the ruffles and pleating Zandra Rhodes Studio is known for. It is playful and functional and the colour pop of pink adds an extra Zandra accent!”
IKEA Prototype Engineer Linda Sandström made the very first, much smaller, samples of the bag.
Describe how fashion and function go hand in hand?
“Pattern and colour were the starting point of this collaboration. From there it grew into products. We think of function all the time when designing because if things are not practical, they never get used. I hate waste! Everything must be useable otherwise what is the point of it being made in the first place? We must consider environmental and economic issues when designing and I know the IKEA team also share these beliefs.”
How will you use the KARISMATISK bag?
“I will use the bag to carry clothing when doing shows and events … plus my shopping when I pop to the grocery store down the road! Multifunctional and brilliant!”