Samsung’s Wildest Design Collabs, From BTS to Supreme

Samsung’s Wildest Design Collabs, From BTS to Supreme
BTS is one of Samsung's most famous recent collaborations. (Image: Samsung)

There’s nothing people love and hate more than a collab. Whether it’s a fashionable collaboration between two designers, or two musicians teaming up on a “hybrid” kind of musical genre, it’s an easy way to create a fusion to appeal to folks beyond the usual suspects.

You might not think of a “collab” when considering Android smartphones, but they’re pretty standard. One smartphone brand that’s leaned into partnering with other brands is Samsung. The company is impressively on the mark with its attempts at merchandising each new smartphone release, whether it’s bringing along one of the most prominent K-pop groups in the world or releasing special editions to coincide with worldwide events, even if it does sometimes seem overbearing.

Here are some of Samsung’s cross-brand marketing collaborations over the past few years. You might even see something that inspires you to look for it on eBay — that happened to me while researching for this piece.

I know about Thom Browne because of Samsung

Illustration: SamsungIllustration: Samsung

Before we get into the collaborations, let’s talk about the one that seems to pop up with every new Samsung smartphone release. Thom Browne is a UK-based brand I’d never heard of until I learned that Samsung collaborated with them years ago on watch straps and cases. Since then, Samsung’s kept collaborating with Thom Browne for new earbuds, phone cases, and watch straps. It’s even done two Galaxy Z Flip special edition phones together.

Smooth Like Butter: Galaxy S20+ BTS Edition

Image: SamsungImage: Samsung

For the record, I was into BTS before they were a part of Samsung’s marketing campaigns for its smartphones. In 2020, Samsung introduced the royal purple BTS Edition of the Galaxy S20+ 5G with matching Galaxy Buds+. The design featured a purple glass and metal exterior. It also came pre-installed with BTS-inspired themes and the K-pop-centered social network, Weverse.

What I’m looking for on eBay: Samsung and Laneige

Screenshot: YouTube / Samsung / Laneige / PowderRoomScreenshot: YouTube / Samsung / Laneige / PowderRoom

I’m into this lip sleeping mask from Laneige, and while I was researching this story, I discovered a collab I missed when it initially launched.

Last year, Samsung and cosmetics brand, Laneige, teamed up on a pair of Galaxy Buds Pro. The Buds came in gorgeous pearl packaging and included a Laneige Neo Cushion, which seems like a setting powder.

Samsung thinks the Olympics are the perfect venue for marketing its phones

Image: SamsungImage: Samsung

I don’t know if you remember after this whirlwind couple of years, but Samsung was a sponsor at the Winter Olympics 2022 in Beijing, China. That sparked the company to remind everyone of its support for the global sports event through the years. It even put together a slideshow of all the devices it’s hawked during Olympics coverage. The slide show goes as far back as the Olympic Winter Games 1998 in Nagano, when it provided organisers and officials with the Samsung N206 brick phone.

The relative cuteness of a Maison Kitsuné collaboration

Image: SamsungImage: Samsung

Maison Kitsuné is known for its relatively cute-chic aesthetic, which caters to adorable adults tasked with facing the real world. Currently, Samsung offers branded Galaxy Buds 2 and Galaxy Watch 4 watchbands. There are also watch faces if you’d rather skip buying the accessories and put on the fox-laden background yourself.

Gotta catch ‘em all: The Pokémon Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

Image: SamsungImage: Samsung

Listen, I’m going to find any excuse to bring up this collaboration and its existence, even if I must drag myself to South Korea to procure this thing physically. The collection includes a transparent cover set, a pouch with a lanyard, a keychain, and a stand. The phone itself comes preloaded with ringtones, themes, and wallpapers.

No, really, catch them all: The Pokémon Galaxy Buds 2

Image: SamsungImage: Samsung

What we’re doing here is manifesting, people, and I am trying to manifest a global release for this Pokéball-shaped Galaxy Buds 2 case. Anyway, it’s only available in limited quantities overseas. So perhaps this will be another eBay trawl.

Sami Miró Vintage and Samsung’s very cool collab

Image: SamsungImage: Samsung

I’m a little bummed I didn’t know about this when I looked for a new watch band for my Galaxy Watch 4. Samsung teamed up with artist Sami Miró on a set of vintage-y, vaporwave-like watchbands. They’re made from sustainably sourced materials like recycled Apple Peel skin. But what caught my eye was the piercing blue and soft lavender colour hues, swatches directly in my wheelhouse.

Samsung tries out virtual makeup

Image: SamsungImage: Samsung

Samsung has more cosmetic collaborations coming down the pipeline. But years ago, when virtual and augmented reality were just being normalized, Samsung had partnered with a drugstore brand, NYX makeup, to bring VR makeup tutorials to the Gear VR headset. Anyway, we know VR isn’t the buzzword it used to be, which is probably why this didn’t catch on as all the brands had hoped.

Cancelled collab: Samsung and Supreme

Screenshot: SamsungScreenshot: Samsung

In 2018, Samsung announced a collaboration with Supreme, which included themed livery on its Galaxy A-series of smartphones. The release was supposed to be China only, but it was controversial at the time since Supreme NYC wasn’t technically cleared to sell in China. Instead, Samsung had negotiated with Supreme Italia. Two months after announcing the collaboration, Samsung backed out in favour of not publicly exploiting a legal loophole. Those things don’t look so good when you’re under government scrutiny in your home country.