The bags, normally used to carry home household purchases from the Swedish furniture giant's stores, became an unlikely fashion phenomenon earlier this year when designer brand Balenciaga launched a new high-end product that looked suspiciously like Ikea's plain old crinkly blue bag.
That inspired enthusiasts to re-purpose the Ikea bags into a variety of accessories and items of their own including caps, boots and jackets. Zhijun Wang from China decided to offer his unique take on the craze inspired by what he does best: pollution masks.
“I saw fashion articles about the Balenciaga tote bag then found several Frakta bags in my home. I decided to make something special with what I'm good at – the mask,” he told The Local.
Previously a graphic designer for Saatchi and Saatchi, Wang has been making similar masks out of sneakers since 2014. One of them sold for more than $5,000 on Ebay, so his work has clearly found a niche, and he applied the same principles to the Ikea version.
“I designed a new template for this work. I've finished over 40 examples of sneaker masks from various styles of sneakers, so I have experience combining the key points in the details,” the mask maker explained.
Comparisons have been made between the Ikea mask and the one worn by Batman villain Bane in Christopher Nolan's “The Dark Knight Rises”, which Wang admitted he found “quite funny”.
As for whether Ikea may consider a mass run of the flat-pack masks: the designer said the Swedish furniture firm has yet to get in touch.