Ikea Irked by Influencers, Allegedly Bans ‘Schoolgirl’ Photoshoots

Inspired by American coming-of-age films and TV shows, influencers have been flocking to Ikea stores dressed in what they perceive to be ‘American-style’ high school attire

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2:47 PM HKT, Fri September 9, 2022 1 mins read

In a new fad on the Chinese internet, influencers have been dressing up like American high school students and posing in front of Ikea lockers in China. As more and more individuals hop on board the trend, the home furnishing retailer has allegedly banned all forms of photography in parts of its premises.

A few netizens have taken to Weibo to share that security guards stationed at Ikea stores in Shanghai and Chengdu have prohibited them from taking photos.

However, a Guangzhou news outlet has clarified that the ban has been “misinterpreted” and that staff will only stop influencers if they get in the way of other shoppers.

Ikea’s lockers are meant for customers to store their personal belongings while carrying out their shopping. But the retro blue-and-white lockers have become a hot ‘photo prop’ for their resemblance to high school lockers in American coming-of-age films.

Many influencers who pose in front of said lockers don school girl uniforms — or what they perceive to resemble school uniforms, namely pleated skirts paired with button-down shirts. However, influencers adopting the trend are unaware that, save for religious and private institutions, most high schools in the U.S. do not require their students to don uniforms.

ikea locker china

Originality is dead — a search for ‘Ikea locker’ on the Chinese lifestyle platform Xiaohongshu generates almost identical pictures of different influencers. Screengrab via Xiaohongshu

The trend has become so popular that influencers have begun to share guides on how to take similar photos on Xiaohongshu, a visual-heavy Chinese social media platform. Typing ‘Ikea Locker’ in the app’s search function unearths thousands of pictures and videos of influencers posing next to Ikea’s storage facilities.

video showing how to pose at ikea lockers ban chinese influencers

One of many guides to taking a high school-themed, Ikea-based photoshoot. Screengrab via Xiaohongshu

Whether or not Ikea China has officially banned influencers from staging photoshoots in their stores, many netizens believe the rule should be enforced.

“It’s really annoying,” complained one netizen. “The last time I went to Ikea, I wanted to see the furniture exhibits, but a group of teenagers was taking photos, so I couldn’t get a good look.”

Another commenter wrote, “It was already very crowded at Ikea, and we had to fight for space with people who were taking pictures. Now, finally, we won’t be crowded out by people holding cameras, or have to endure the endless flash of cameras.”

While the behavior of shutterbug influencers may be annoying consumers, Ikea shoppers can take solace in the fact their behavior is at least more hygienic than that woman who went viral in 2020 for masturbating on furniture in a South China outlet of the company.

Cover image designed by Beatrice Tamagno

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