Any child who’s ever played dress-up with a doll has learned a bit about self-expression. You decided when your doll wanted to wear a toilet paper wedding dress, when she didn’t give a damn about whether her shoes matched, and when she decided to get a haircut. A very irreversible haircut. But, the latest change to the often-criticized Barbie is putting a bit more responsibility on its manufacturer to represent a diverse outlook on style. As Ad Age reports, the newest line of Fashionistas dolls began to roll out this month. At first, it was Barbie's new footwear that caught our eye, but it's Mattel's refreshing take diversity that's most impressive about the 56-year-old toy. Dubbed "Super Style,"the Barbie Fashionistas line represents a wide range of women, be it in race, hair type (including a Barbie with a half-shaved 'do), and personal style. "Barbie has always been a reflection of the style of the decade, but also of the culture and fashion that's happening in the world," Barbie's SVP-global brand general manager, Evelyn Mazzocco, tells AdAge. "['Super Style'] is really about who you are. And, fashion is the vehicle for expressing who you are."
The promotional video, "Who is Barbie?," lives up to such a claim with the 23-doll collection parading around in their own street style shoot. Think leather-jacket-and-jeans Barbie, clashing-polka-dots Barbie, fuzzy-statement-jacket Barbie, and even a group of plastic babes dressed in Blues Brothers suits. And, to accompany the new initiative of helping children freely explore personal style, Mattel is also introducing a feature on its site to allow them to create their own clothing for their doll — something we're not foreign to, even if wrapping paper and ribbons were once our materials of choice. While Barbie seems to have made a lot of improvements to its classic toy, specifically in an effort to celebrate individuality, it should be noted that the doll still only comes in a slim, one-size option. And, we wouldn't mind seeing a bit more body diversity to round out this collection. But, until then, we're kinda proud that Barbie's making moves — albeit stop-motion ones — in the right direction. (Ad Age)