It’s always interesting to track the way branded bags increase customer awareness, and few bags have performed that task as successfully as the Frakta IKEA bag. You already know what it looks like; it’s big, blue, and tough, and it’s an iconic part of the IKEA brand. What you might not know is that it’s been successful enough to spawn a luxury alternative, and that alternative should only set you back a cool £1,705.

The bag is made by luxury fashion brand Balenciaga. They’ve not officially acknowledged their source of inspiration, but it would take quite a stretch to believe that the IKEA Frakta had no part in their efforts. Like the Frakta, Balenciaga’s bag is neon blue, with large double shoulder straps and a huge interior. Of course, it does have a few subtle differences of its own beyond the number you’ll find on the price tag. You’ll find that the bag is made from blue leather that has been wrinkled and glazed instead of the polypropylene of the Frakta; there’s also a zip along the top.

IKEA seem to understand that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In the words of Stella Monteiro, sales leader for IKEA UK and Ireland: “We are extremely flattered to seemingly be an inspiration for the latest catwalk designs for Balenciaga. Our IKEA Frakta tote is one of our most iconic products which are already owned and loved by millions – now the many people truly can get the designer look for less”.

It’s a lesson for all businesses in how a simple branding concept can become so iconic and influential – as well as the new luxury bag, there are face masks, baseball caps, watch straps, backpacks, and even thongs that were inspired by the Frakta. It’s also a great example of blending branding with purpose. Frakta bags were designed to take everything from laundry to food waste, reflecting the simple practicality and versatility of the IKEA brand. Even if you don’t have quite the same global presence as IKEA, you can use branded bags to achieve strong results.