Barbie has come along way since its first dolls launched in 1959. From the disproportionate, long-legged, impossibly skinny blonde – Barbie now represents a multitude of more realistic body shapes and sizes, heights, ethnicities and abilities.
Today, they have taken their drive for inclusivity one step further by launching dolls with the skin condition vitiligo, and bald dolls.
The Barbie Fashionista’s line is the brand’s most diverse range yet. And now there are more than 170 dolls that come in five body types, 22 skin tones, 94 hair colours and 13 eye colours.
The Ken dolls are also much more varied than they used to be, with four body types, 18 sculpts and 13 skin tones. The latest release also includes a doll with a gold prosthetic limb, a Ken with long rooted hair and the first-ever redhead Ken.
The bald dolls were created to reflect hair trends seen on the catwalk and on the street. ‘If a girl is experiencing hair loss for any reason, she can see herself reflected in the line,’ reads the release.
‘Offering a doll with vitiligo in our main doll line allows kids to play out even more stories they see in the world around them,’ it continues. ‘To design this doll, Mattel worked with a dermatologist to ensure vitiligo was accurately represented.’
A prototype was debuted on Barbie’s Instagram channel @BarbieStyle last year, becoming the channels most ‘liked’ post ever. The Ken doll with long hair is the first of its kind as it has rooted locks.
The doll with the gold prosthetic limb was created in collaboration with then 12-year-old Jordan Reeves, who is on a mission to build creative solutions that help kids with disabilities, to create a play experience that is as representative as possible.
‘We are proud that Barbie is the most diverse doll line on the market that continues to evolve to better reflect the world girls see around them,’ says SVP
Barbie & Global Head of Dolls, Lisa McKnight. ‘Our commitment to better reflect the world drives a powerful conversation, and we know our efforts are resonating with eight consecutive quarters of growth and the Fashionistas category up double digits in 2019.’
Barbie’s efforts on broader diversity and inclusivity is clearly resonating; more than half of all the dolls sold worldwide last year were diverse dolls. Of the top ten best-sellers, seven were diverse, including the doll that uses a wheelchair.
In the UK, both of the Barbie dolls with wheelchairs were the #1 and #2 bestselling individual Fashionista dolls while globally, the #1 bestselling individual Fashionista doll of 2019 was a curvy black doll with afro hair.
Fashionistas dolls RRP £11.99 each. The vitiligo doll will be available in spring, with the doll with no hair and doll with prosthetic limb available later this year.
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