When choosing dolls kids are naturally drawn towards the ones that look like them. They envision different situations and come up with fantasy stories or enact the ones from real lives – whatever the case, most times the child identifies with a toy, so he or she would like to have a doll with similar features and skin colour. Last month Barbie released a new line of dolls that helped millions of girls all over the world feel represented. Not only do they have different skin tones and hairstyles, but body types as well! If you grew up feeling like you haven’t had the chance to play with the doll of your dreams, this will make you feel much better.
Barbie didn’t just create these new dolls out of the blue. Mattel, Barbie’s parent company, approached a famous costume designer Shiona Turini with the task of creating a completely new line of dolls that would be inclusive of different skin tones and body types.
Shiona Turini, who has worked with Isa Rae and Beyoncé, confessed that for her it was a pretty big deal. It has always been more than just a kid’s toy from her childhood; in fact, it was her very first and most important fashion icon!
She felt honoured and truly blessed for the opportunity to create Barbie looks for @BarbieStyle during the Black History Month. It’s a huge career milestone to be able to create something that affects so many young girls and adults!
Shiona Turini remembers that brand always focused on diversity, even before it became sort of a trend. Christie, the first ever African-American Barbie, hit the shelves in 1968. Then in 1980, the remarkable Black Barbie was released by Mattel. Shiona fondly remembers the Black Barbie she saw in New York as a little girl – the doll had an amazing Afro and even a little red pick for her hair, such a significant part of the culture.
Her Barbie collection showcases various non-traditional Barbies, including plus-size dolls, a doll in a wheel-chair, dolls with traditional braids and Afro, bald-headed dolls, and more.
The fashion guru created 20 gorgeous looks, inspired by Turini’s own life and work. She wanted to create beautiful styles that looked like something you would want to wear in real life. She took different sizes and body types into consideration, so each doll was wearing something appropriate for her build. Just like women IRL!