Blog: Michelle RussellSelf-assembly fashion line for Ikea?

Michelle Russell | 31 October 2014

Yet another fast fashion brand could be about to launch, with suggestions that the next move by Swedish furniture retailer Ikea might be into apparel.

Swedish author and business consultant Stefan Engeseth believes Ikea's expertise lends itself easily to the world of apparel. "Fashion is an expression of how to package and sell design," he says.

In true Ikea style, Engeseth says the Swedish furniture retailer could offer both complete apparel items and composite parts that customers could assemble themselves. The parts could be "tailored" at home in inventive ways without the need for complex sewing.

"Emotionally, this connects people to how life was in the beginning," he says. "Customers can personalise and 'hack' the designs."

Jack Yan, publisher of the fashion magazine Lucire, and a branding expert in his own right, says Engeseth's ideas have a great deal of merit.

"This taps in to its existing fan base, and just as importantly, Ikea can make full use of its channels, outmanoeuvring many existing fashion labels," says Yan. "Ikea has an international retail base and it has distribution down to a fine art."

For completed clothing, Engeseth says Ikea could offer Unisex dressing, without the divisions of male and female, but as an ‘Ikea member'. He sees Ikea clothing as being "high-tech and low-cost, harder-wearing" than the apparel found in mass-market retailers.

"We're already seeing some shoppers go to outdoor and living stores to buy longer-lasting clothing. Ikea already sells reusable Kr 4 bags that are good and cheap; their clothes could be equally practical, as strong as work clothes," he says.

The idea is certainly an interesting one but Ikea will have to think about how it will compete effectively against the likes of fast fashion stalwarts H&M and Zara if it wants to make a success of any kind of apparel line.

Sectors: Apparel, Manufacturing, Retail

Companies: Zara, H&M

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