Chinese influencers are posing in front of IKEA storage lockers to recreate an 'American high school' trend.
Reports surfaced that the influencers were disrupting IKEA's business by blocking customers.
The retailer said it doesn't "encourage the behavior that may interfere with other customers."
It might have been a bit harder to enjoy shopping for minimalist, Scandinavian-designed furniture in Shanghai recently.
Chinese influencers — costumed in pleated skirts, button-downs, ties, and backpacks that might as well be plucked from "Gossip Girl" or "Clueless" wardrobe racks — are using IKEA lockers as the background for photos cosplaying "Meigaofeng," or "American high school."
The blue lockers, used by customers to store belongings as they shop, now feature as the main prop in a social media trend seemingly romanticizing the American high schools so commonly depicted in US film and television. Some influencers pair their "high school" outfits with other symbols of Americana, including Coke bottles or fast food.
Shoppers, exasperated by the disruption, reportedly complained that the influencers were disrupting their shopping trips. Rumors the retailer banned photography in parts of its store circulated the internet, though it seems the policy may have been misinterpreted — with IKEA staff actually only attempting to stop influencers if they were noticeably impeding other shoppers' ability to access lockers.
"We are committed to creating and providing an inspiring and convenient experience for our customers," IKEA said in a statement provided to Insider on behalf of its Xuhui store.
"We appreciate influencers for choosing IKEA as the backdrop for their photos," the statement continued. "However, we don't encourage behavior that may interfere with other customers, such as gathering and blocking shopping aisles."
China blocks Western-based media companies, including Instagram and Facebook, and has its own version of TikTok, called Douyin. But American television, music, and movies continue to be popular among the young.
The original "Gossip Girl," which seems to have in part inspired the "American high school" IKEA locker trend, was popular in China during its run. It garnered between 3 and 5 million views a week via illegal streams and downloads, according to a report from the China Market Research Group, Forbes reported.
Read the original article on Insider