Barbie diversity range

There are now Barbies with vitiligo, alopecia and prosthetics proving beauty comes in all forms

30th January 2020 | Author: Victoria Woollaston-Webber

A major part of our mission here at mamabella is to help people feel beautiful and confident no matter what they look like or who they are.

And while we’re trying to achieve this by championing the brands making a difference in this space, if we as a society are really going to make a positive change when it comes to diversity and inclusivity, it starts with educating the next generation. Something Mattel is absolutely smashing with its range of Barbie and Ken Fashionistas.

In recent years, Barbie has evolved from the thin blonde to better reflect the world girls and boys see today, adding more diversity to help children of different shapes, sizes, races and disabilities to feel included and seen. And its most recent launch is it’s most diverse yet.

For 2020, Mattel has added a host of new Barbies to its diverse Fashionista range including one with vitiligo, another with alopecia, one with a prosthetic leg and a Ken doll with long blonde hair.

Fashion model, Winnie Harlow, who herself has vitiligo, helped change the game in 2014 when she appeared on America’s Next Top Model and has since become a public spokesperson on the skin condition. The Barbie with vitiligo pays homage to her.

The doll with a bald head is a nod to people, such as Gail Porter, who have publicly faced stigma around experiencing hair loss due to alopecia. Another America’s Next Top Model contestant, Jeana Turner, revealed during the show’s makeover week in 2018 she was diagnosed with alopecia at the age of 10 and was praised for her strength. The bald Barbie is also a reflection of a rising trend seen on catwalks and fashion shoots for bald models, even those who don’t have alopecia or related conditions.

While the doll with the gold prosthetic leg is actually the second Barbie in the range to feature a prosthesis after the first was created in partnership with 12-year-old disability activist Jordan Reeves in 2019. There are also two Barbies in wheelchairs, complete with ramps, one white and blonde, the other black with natural hair.

In total, there are now 176 dolls in Barbie’s diverse and inclusive Fashionista range with nine body types – under the categories of original, curvy, tall and petite – 35 skin tones and 94 hairstyles. This includes seven Ken dolls with man buns, cornrows, freckles and more.

At the launch of these new dolls, Mattel said that of the top 10 bestsellers globally, seven are from this diverse range with the top being the curvy doll with afro hair. In the UK, the Barbie dolls with wheelchairs are the two bestselling individual Fashionistas dolls.

Each of the Fashionistas dolls retail for £11.99 each in the UK, although they’re often sold for less (£7-£9.99) at places such as Smyths Toys.  Unfortunately, the dolls with vitiligo, no hair and prosthetic aren’t available in the UK but are expected to launch from Spring.

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