Markerad - Virgil Abloh (OFF WHITE) x IKEA
I woke up around 7:30 am on November 1st, and the first thing that popped up in my Feedly, Instagram, and Twitter was synonymous - it was the day of Virgil Abloh’s drop with Ikea titled “MARKERAD”.
I had put the event in my calendar but wasn’t totally committed to going. However, all of the hype online got me excited so I called Ikea. I figured if there wasn’t much of a line, I’d make the 20-minute drive and see what Off White’s most recent collaboration offered. When I explained myself to the operator on the phone he simply said, “Oh dude. You gotta get over there ASAP.”
I arrived at 9:30 am. I got ticket #289. The line had started at 2:30 am in 28° weather, and it was clear that the people ahead of me deserved to get in first. I made a few new friends while waiting in line – a mother standing in line for her high school-age hypebeast son, a Warby Parker employee from Nashville, and a couple of dudes who attended as many streetwear and shoe drops as they could find. People who got into the store first were coming back to the line to resell items that had sold out. The vibe was wild, and it was pretty incredible to imagine that this was happening at Ikea locations across the nation. The highlight of waiting in line was the Ikea manager who would address various portions of the line throughout the wait, announcing quantities of products left available. It felt like he was testing material for a stand-up routine as he made announcements over his megaphone.
To manage the traffic, folks were given access in groups of 10-15. My new friends and I gained entry at 12:15 pm, and going up the classic Ikea escalators to the presentation room felt iconic. The space was about 12 x 10’ and stantioned off. The first visible product was the “Sculpture” bag, which comes in two sizes. While it looks like a combination between a standard tote and a brown paper grocery bag, it has a thick weight to it that gives it a heightened quality. The “Temporary” clock was next to the bags. This was the piece I was most interested in. The $50 price point seemed incredibly fair and I’m a sucker for a minimalist clock. The toolkit was next. It was packaged in a different container than advertised. Online it was shown in a soft red zipper bag, and in the store, it was a very similar plastic snap container that IKEA’s classic toolkit is in. The two items that followed were the receipt rug (Low Pile) and the “Wet Grass” rug (High Pile). They were hung on the wall for the sake of photos while two employees handed interested customers vouchers which they’d exchange for the rugs in the warehouse below. Besides these items were the pillow cover and bed set. Around the corner, the daybed, table, mirror, glass shelf, and chair were set up. These products seemed to be the least popular. Some folks speculated that it was due to the fact that it’d be harder to resell and ship a piece of furniture in contrast to a rug or clock. Quite a few people joked about the overall design of the pieces, particularly the chair. The Ikea manager was one of these people (he had previously announced, “This morning we started off with 45 chairs, and I’m here to announce, that 6 hours later, we’re down to only 39!”).
Despite my 3 hour wait in line, I was able to get the medium bag, both rugs, clock, the pillow cover and bed set. The mirror and “Mona Lisa” both sold out before I had made it to the showroom, but I was happy that I was able to get the pieces I got. All of the items had the familiar Ikea packaging and light quality, but a standard Ikea pricing reflected this. I’m curious to see what resale value on the items will be, considering Virgil’s notoriety, the limited run of the release, and popularity of past collaborations.
“The ethos of the collection is to add an artful quality to anonymous objects.”
- Virgil Abloh, designer