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Assemble the throne: Kanye West for IKEA?

Assemble the throne: Kanye West for IKEA?


Above: Kanye West. Written by Sara Kirby.

This week, rapper and fashion designer Kanye West expressed his desire to design for furniture giant IKEA.

Speaking to Annie Mac on BBC Radio 1, West said “I have to work with IKEA. With furniture, with interior design, with architecture.”

“Yo, Ikea, allow Kanye to create, allow him to make this thing because you know what? I want a bed that he makes, I want a chair that he makes. I want more products from ‘Ye!”

West spoke about designing a minimalist apartment inside of a college dorm, saying that he visited IKEA and when the idea of him designing for them was brought to the board, his interruption of Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMAs was raised. “So what? I can’t create for IKEA now? For being slightly rude, or whatever?” he expressed.

This is not the first time West has shown an interest in product design and working with IKEA. Earlier in the year, he took a trip to the flat-pack superstore and tweeted his thoughts, along with a couple of sketches.

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IKEA Australia quickly responded to West’s BBC1 proposal on its Facebook page, with a mock design for the ‘YEEZY’ – three conjoined beds, in reference to his video clip for the controversial track ‘Famous‘, (NSFW) which features 12 celebrities lying in bed together.

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A more formal statement was made when an IKEA spokesperson told CNBC that the Swedish brand would not be collaborating with West in the foreseeable future. “At IKEA we are constantly curious about different people, companies, artists, and events around the world. To have these connections and inspiring meetings is an important way for us to find new ways to create a better everyday life for the many people,” the spokesperson said.

“Although we are really flattered by Kanye West’s high interest in IKEA and the speculation around a joint venture, we have no plans to collaborate at this point in time.”

IKEA has long held an uneasy relationship with the design industry. Following collaborations with names such as Tom Dixon and Danish brand Hay, IKEA presumably wants to continue its attempts at gaining high-end design approval, a circle most likely unassociated with West.

However, despite his “pop culture” status, West has hastily worked his way up the design ladder over the better part of the last decade. Having collaborated with Nike and Adidas, as well as Louis Vuitton and Balmain, West has worked to blur the lines between high-end design and the masses, for an entire generation of youth and fashion design.

West has shown a passion for design and architecture before. Back in 2013, he spoke to students at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, telling them that “the world can be saved through design, and everything needs to be ‘architected’.” He also spoke about some of his initial employees who are architects who then took to fashion design.

While IKEA may have no desire to team up with West, the controversial rapper does have an undeniable grasp on one of IKEA’s dominant demographics – young adults. It also goes without saying that Kanye West is a brand in himself, and in recent years basically everything he has associated himself with has seen success, including a $120 plain white T-shirt which sold out instantly. So while he may not have the collaborator appeal that IKEA currently seeks, maybe a Yeezy IKEA range wouldn’t be such a crazy idea after all.


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