One More ‘Times

To continue on with my domination of the world’s media, my interview with the Financial Times Germany appeared last weekend! This time I even got a funky illustration of me cutting into an IKEA shower curtain to go with my feature! Click below for the front page of the Weekend section, or for just my article (which appeared on page two).

And since my mom’s German penpal, Helmut, happened to be visiting (they met in high school and have actually kept in touch! Isn’t that sweet?), he even translated the article for me…

The pillow fitted around my waist

FTD Miss Fehr how do you become an IKEA-hacker?

MF It happened at a classic IKEA visit: I just wanted to get a few little things, but as usual it was very crowded and I had to walk the whole tour. All of a sudden in a corner I saw a fabric with fantastic nice pattern. Standing in front of it I was quite disappointed: It was only pillow cover.

FTD And then you thought, I sew a skirt out of that?

MF When I held the pillow high, I realized it was as wide as my hips. Next I also got an IKEA-shower curtain and sewed a skirt out of both of them. It has a great shiny green and pink coloured pattern.

FTD To sew a skirt out of a shower curtain seems harmless compared to what your hacker colleagues produce.

MF Yes there are a few people with quite ambitious ideas. Some hackers make speaker boxes out of red salad bowls or a hole camera out of a flower pot.

FTD Speaker boxes out of salad bowls? A nightmare for any hi-fi freak!

MF I neither can image that the sound quality is overwhelming. My personal opinion is that a hack should be as functional as the original product. Great are also ideas that totally transform an apartment – like the wardrobe into which a hacker concealed a complete office. Still I respect anyone who possesses enough imagination to see the potential of speaker boxes in a salad bowl.

FTD What is it, that makes it so tempting about IKEA, that e.g. someone makes a laptop desktop out of an IKEA towel holder?

MF IKEA is so colourful and cheap. The products have simple classic shapes that might well be used as a base for something more creative. Being so cheap you are less afraid to dismantle the products and experiment with the parts

FTD In the computer world a hacker is considered to be threatening. Are you attacking a Scandinavian furniture company?

MF In every house today there is a piece of furniture of IKEA that you recognize right away. The Billy shelf is omnipresent. Therefore I believe that many want to transform their Billy shelf and want to make it more personal. Self-made items are very up to date these days. Instead of “pimp my ride” we say “pimp my Trunna light”.

FTD IKEA-hacking has become a worldwide phenomenon by now.

MF IKEA is offering to do so: No matter whether in Toronto or Tokyo the products always are the same. On the other hand it is completely different what a German hacker or a Great Britain hacker makes out of an IKEA bed. I received many emails from people that thanks to my creations are having a different sight on IKEA now. I believe far more people stand in front of an IKEA curtain now thinking: I could make a gorgeous blouse out of that. We hackers have turned IKEA into a completely different store – one where you don’t buy your ready-made interiors but the base for an individual living in your apartment.

FTD Do your makes also have funny names as we know them from the IKEA catalog?

MF There is a Billy shelf hack called Billy Wilder. My shower curtain dress I call the Glastonbury dress because I wore it at the Glastonbury music festival. Like almost every year there was rain at the festival and the whole area was totally muddy. I was the only one to wear water rejecting clothes.

FTD Has IKEA ever made a comment?

MF Once after a visit at IKEA I was so pissed of that I complained in a letter and added a photograph of one of my clothes. They said being criticized occasionally would be very animating and they put my picture on the front page of their company magazine.

Thanks very much, Helmut!

And in my Fall/Winter Collection news, I’ve finished the Go Patterns LBD, and I even wore it out to a cocktail party on Friday (despite the lining not being 100% tacked down, but who was going to see that??). I was utterly consumed with giant hammer drills, copper piping, and the cozy engine room this weekend, but I’ll try to get some glamorous photos taken tonight… It’s a corker!

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