At a time when brands struggle to stay on top of the ever-volatile retail game, brand collaborations have gained a notable amount of traction as of late. Showing no signs of slowing, collaborations between two influential brands generates hype, offers access to a new customer, and often injects a dose of creativity and uniqueness into the expected. Sometimes the best and most buzzed-about collaborations are the ones that are the most unusual or seemingly unrelated.
Here are unusual brand collabs that somehow work.
A star of show at this year’s Interior Design Show was the eye-popping and completely photogenic display from Dolce & Gabbana x Smeg. The two brands teamed up last year to create a unique collection of small appliances that pretty much double as art. The Sicily Is My Love collection features a blender, toaster, coffee machines, kettle, and citrus juicer in bright, bold, and distinct Dolce & Gabbana motifs — it might be one of the most unusual brand collabs, but it works!
Last spring, Rodarte made headlines when it teamed up with size-inclusive brand Universal Standard (which offers sizes 00 to 40), marking the first time a high-end fashion label has joined forces with a “plus-size” or body inclusive brand for a collaboration. The collection features feminine jumpsuits, dresses, skirts, and blouses.
Recently, LEGO Group and Levi’s partnered up to create an entire collection. The launch included hoodies, jeans, denim jackets, beanies, t-shirts, and more. Each piece has a patch where you can actually clip in your lego pieces to create your very own design. Wearable art, pretty neat, right?
Late last year, IKEA and famed creative Virgil Abloh of Louis Vuitton and Off-White released Markerad, a limited collection of home décor items. The statement-making collection featured 15 items that elevate the ordinary, including everything from a day bed and cabinet, to backlit artwork, wall clock, and bed linens. While it might be one of the most unusual brand collabs, the anticipated collection resulted in major lineups at the door and it sold out almost immediately.
This fun collab was first launched earlier this year. Pairing the famous streetwear brand, Anti Social Social Club, and the adorable Hello Kitty, may have seemed like an odd collaboration. Turns out, it totally worked. The line sold out extremely quick, and who can blame them? The design is super cute!
Last year, Marc Jacobs released a playful collection that pays homage to the beloved longtime comic strip, the Peanuts. The cartoon-inspired collection includes a vintage lunchbox–looking leather box bag, a micro mini skirt, a jacket, and apparel that features the original comic strip.
In August, Taylor Swift and Stella McCartney revealed their Lover collaboration, timed to coincide with the release of Swift’s album of the same name. The eco-friendly collection features ready-to-wear and accessories that were said to revolve around the music. The pastel and rainbow-filled collection was available at a NYC pop-up for two days only and featured items like a bomber, hoodies, and a handbag.
Puma x Maybelline
Last February of last year, Puma and Maybelline teamed up to create a limited edition sport-focused makeup collection. The five-product collection fused bold fashion with sport and is designed to withstand sweat sessions at the gym or on the court or field, thanks to the fact that it’s formulated with a high-endurance technology. This unusual brand collab ended working out quite well among consumers.
Back in 2019, Vans teased a “magical” collaboration with Warner Bros. The shoe brand shortly after launched the anticipated collection of Harry Potter-themed footwear, apparel, and accessories. If you’re a fan of the hit series, this collab was definitely made for you, so hopefully you got a chance to score some merch.
Days into 2020, Gucci and Disney revealed a Mickey Mouse-themed collection in celebration of the Lunar New Year. The ready-to-wear collection is part of Gucci’s Cruise 2020 Collection, and features over 70 different items, including t-shirts, bomber jackets, and accessories. This wasn’t the first time the Italian fashion house partnered with the famous mouse; Gucci created a 3D Mickey Mouse Top Handle Bag to mark Mickey’s 90th birthday.
L.A.-based sustainable womenswear label Reformation joined forced with New Balance to create the sportswear brand’s most sustainable sneaker to date and Reformation’s first sneakers ever. Released October 2019, the collection breathes new life into New Balance’s 574 and X 90 styles with exclusive colourways and sustainable materials.
The fun collab between Louis Vuitton and artist, Jeff Koons, was a total hit. Each bag featured select artists and their work like Van Gough, Da Vinci—which of course had the Mona Lisa, Monet, Rubens, and more. This line was definitely a collectors piece.
In 2018, makeup giant Sephora and the made-for-Instagram Museum of Ice Cream united to offer a sweet collection of makeup that’s, naturally, completely Instagram-worthy. Everything in the limited-edition collection was inspired by ice cream (with sprinkles on top) and popsicles.
Uninterrupted, which is Lebron James and Maverick Carter’s media platform for athletes, launched it’s own Nike Air Force 1 with Sharpie about a year ago. Two Sharpies were included with the shoes, one black and one blue, to encourage wearers to share messages on their shoes. The collab allowed wearers the creative license to define themselves.
In September 2019, KITH, a New York City-based lifestyle brand, teamed up with beloved boutique hotel staple, skincare line Malin + Goetz. The resulting unisex skincare products include a hand and body wash, body lotion, shampoo, conditioner, and a soothing candle eau de parfum. It marks Malin + Goetz first collaboration for products for both men and women.
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