The fashion and beauty industries never run short of interesting concepts. When minds from these two worlds collide, something attention- and investment-worthy often gets birthed.
In fashion, there's 2011’s Donatella Versace x H&M, 2015’s Hermes x Apple Watch, and even the surprising 2017 Supreme x Louis Vuitton collaboration. In beauty, there's Hershey's x Etude House, Sailor Moon x Colourpop, and Innisfree x Mentos.
However, not every fashion and beauty collab makes sense — at least on the surface. For example, the much-coveted Nike x Stussy Spiridon Cage 2 collaboration looks flawless in itself. But this concept by graphic designer Davide Perella of a Nike x Stussy Spiridon Cage 2 pair of heels does not quite elicit the same reaction. We’re actually glad it’s not a real thing (yet).
Then it got us thinking: With all the existing weird fashion and beauty collabs we’ve witnessed through the years, which ones surprisingly worked and which didn’t? Join us as we weigh in on some of the most brow-raising, weird fashion and beauty collabs.
HUF x SPAM
Fashion x food brand collabs are not surprising at this point. However, when New York skateboard brand HUF announced their collaboration with SPAM — yes, the canned meat brand — in 2016, we couldn’t help but wonder why and how it would end up looking. After all, who would want canned-meat-themed clothes?
Did it work? Talk about eating our own words (pun intended)! Going by SPAM’s history as a food item created for the convenience of the U.S. Army during World War II, the collaboration went with an army camp concept with the canned meat's logo printed at the back of each item. The collaboration was still definitely on-brand with the HUF’s skateboarder aesthetic — but made more fun by SPAM.
Tony Moly x Samyang
One of the smartest collaborations to ever come out of a viral content trend is the Tony Moly x Samyang beauty collab. From the cushion compact to the lip tints, everything is dressed very similarly to the Korean noodles’ signature packaging. We say, novelty done right!
Did it work? Surprisingly, yes! Novelty collabs usually bank on quirkiness and not much on the product performance. But Tony Moly has already established itself in the K-beauty arena, so the sauce added by SamYang was just a spicy bonus.
IKEA x OFF-WHITE
Prior to IKEA announcing their own fashion line this year, the renowned lifestyle brand had a collab with OFF-WHITE in 2019. The concept was a mix of homeware and wearables. IKEA even put up Virgil Abloh’s signature quotation marks in their London stores as part of the promotion for the tie-up.
Did it work? While the collaboration isn’t exactly that bad, we have to admit that there’s nothing really special about the concept. It’s really one of those things where you pay for the brand association than the aesthetics or the practicality because this collab didn’t really offer anything new to the table.
Balenciaga x Crocs
Whether you love or hate them, you can’t deny that Crocs will always be a thing. While it's not the most fashionable footwear you can own, the comfort it provides is undeniable. Its collaboration with Balenciaga in 2017, with a price range ranging from double to triple digits, really blew our minds though.
Did it work? It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but the collab made us remember playing with dollhouse from our childhood. It’s not the prettiest pairing, but it's undeniably cute.
E.L.F. x Chipotle
Food-themed beauty and fashion items seem to be one of the biggest trends in recent years, and E.L.F. is the latest to jump on the bandwagon. Early this year, the brand collaborated with Mexican fast-food chain Chipotle for a limited-edition beauty curation inspired by some of the restaurant’s bestselling menu items.
Did it work? We love the initiative but the simplicity of this collab — despite being curiosity-inspiring — didn’t really deliver enough oomph for us to pay attention. The warm-toned palettes are gorgeous, don’t get us wrong, but it would've benefited from burrito-inspired lipsticks or something playful and eye-catching.
Crocs x KFC
Whoever is thinking about these concepts for Crocs is spot-on in terms of virality. When this fried-chicken-themed footwear was announced earlier this year, we had to check our calendars twice (or maybe even three times) to make sure it wasn't an April Fools’ prank. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you’re into this kind of thing), it was real. It even came in two versions: limited-edition platform pairs inspired by the KFC Bucket and the classic Crocs silhouette that looks exactly like a chunk of the food chain’s finger-licking bites.
Did it work? Would we wear it? Absolutely not. But would we consider buying it? Maybe! There’s just something so laughable yet smart about the concept that’s hard not to admire.
Is this level of weird not working for you? Move on to more whimsical brand tie-ups with these attention-worthy J-fashion collabs.