The Best (And Most Interesting) Brand Collaborations So Far This Year

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When two brands come together, everyone wins. A joint project is a great way for brands to do something innovative and interesting, but with less risk since fans of both brands are likely to get excited. It’s also a great way for brands to stay relevant and introduce themselves to new audiences. The most important thing, of course, is that the collaboration makes sense, which we think all of the below -- our favorites so far this year -- do. Except maybe one. Unless you really like the idea of washing yourself in ice cream. Read on to see which brand collaborations excited us the most so far in 2014. And let us know in the comments which ones we missed.

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Valentino & Havaianas

There’s nothing more controversial in footwear than The Flip Flop. Loved by some, despised by others, flip flops seem to be the one summer staple about which everyone has an opinion. In an attempt, perhaps, to win over fashionistas who scoff at the idea of a rubber sandal, the Brazilian flip flop brand Havaianas partnered with Valentino to create a luxury collection. Havaianas typical retail for about $16, but the Valentino version goes for $295. Unless consumers want the crocodile skin version, in which case they’ll have to fork over $895. Without tax. Still… it’s fun to see an accessible mass-market brand like Havaianas partnering with a luxury brand.

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Vivienne Westwood for ASOS

There’s nothing more punk rock than turning someone else’s garbage into statement pieces desired by the masses, which is why we are huge fans of fashion designer Vivienne Westwood’s ethical bag line for ASOS. Westwood, best known for bringing modern punk and new wave style to the masses, created a line of bags designed from recycled materials (ranging from roadside banners and padlocks and car pieces that have been melted down) and handmade by communities of women affected by extreme poverty in Nairobi. What’s not to love?

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Starbucks and Band of Outsiders

It might seem a little odd for a clothing line known for its “modern, rebellious take on American style” to partner with a coffee chain that is found on almost every corner, but then again: maybe that’s actually why this collaboration is so perfect. Nothing says “American style” like the ubiquitous Starbucks coffee cup, so why not get one with a little edge?

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Tory Burch and Fitbit

Admit it: the Fitbit isn’t that cute. Completely useful and a great motivational tool? Yes. But an accessory to show off? Not so much. Fitbit must realize this since they asked designer Tory Burch to develop an exclusive collection that “transforms your tracker into a super-chic accessory.” We like this idea a lot. (Available this summer.)

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Jelly Belly and Tabasco Yes, you read that right. As of earlier this year, chocolate-covered Tabasco jelly beans are a thing. Spiced with “genuine Tabasco brand seasonings and finished with rich dark chocolate,” these are a perfect sweet treat for Tabasco lovers. (And you can wash ‘em down with a Draft Beer -- flavored jelly bean, that is. Because, yes, that is also now a thing.)

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Beats by Dre and Fendi

We expect to see Beats by Dre headphones on famous athletes, but on the runway during Milan Fashion Week? That’s right, Italian high fashion label Fendi is creating a luxe version of the headphones that are expected to retail for $1300. The leather will be hand-stitched and have Fendi Fs stamped on the side.

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Cynthia Rowley & J.Crew

Cynthia Rowley dives in head first with her wetsuit collection for J.Crew. Colorful and flattering, the wetsuits retail for $210. The suits are designed to flatter curves, but are unlined and short, so are definitely meant for warmer water. Still: we like that there are beginning to be more options for women in a sport that is dominated by men.

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Dial & FroYo

Last year, yogurt was the new black. This year? It may have jumped the shark. Dial released a Fozen Yogurt Cooling Body Wash in February that is “inspired by your favorite frozen treat.” We’re just sad it isn’t edible.

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Angry Birds & Transformers

Rovio (Angry Birds) and Hasbro (Transformers) teamed up to create the aptly named: Angry Birds Transformers. Kids and their parents who grew up with the original Transformers are sure to, ahem, flock to this new toy which will also have a mobile game element.

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Taco Bell & The Hundreds

The Hundreds is a stocking brand. A stocking brand that is collaborating with Taco Bell to release socks. Socks with tacos on them. (Or burritos if that’s more your thing.) That is all there is to say about that, except that we love them and want them on our feet.