LOS ANGELES — The days of blonde-haired, blue-eyed and impossibly skinny Barbie dolls are over. The Mattel fashion icon is launching a new range of dolls to help showcase “a multi-dimension view of beauty.”
Mattel said they want to redefine what it means to be a Barbie or look like Barbie through new additions to its Barbie Fashionistas line. The new dolls will be released throughout 2020 and include a Barbie with no hair and the skin condition, vitiligo.
Vitiligo causes the loss of skin color due to a lack of melanin and is often visible in what experts call “blotched” skin. To design this doll, the company worked with a dermatologist to ensure vitiligo was accurately represented.
Mattel hopes that the addition of the new bald Barbie will resonate with children experiencing hair loss of any kind.
“If a girl is experiencing hair loss for any reason, she can see herself reflected in the line,” Mattel said in a statement.
The prototype was debuted on Barbie’s Instagram page last year, becoming the profile’s most popular post ever, receiving more than 60,000 likes.
Ken is getting a face lift in 2020 too, as Mattel has chosen to replace his original short and sculpted comb-over with the option of long rooted locks.
Ken dolls are available in a total of four different body types, 13 skin tones, 9 eye colors and 22 hair colors.
The launch also includes an update of Barbie’s doll with a prosthetic limb include a second doll with a darker skin tone that uses a gold prosthetic limb.
This isn’t the first time the company made changes to help reflect a wider demographic; Mattel expanded the Barbie Fashionistas line in 2019 with dolls reflecting permanent disabilities.
Mattel said they collaborated with UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital and wheelchair experts to ensure authenticity in their product development. They also worked with 13-year-old, Jordan Reeves, to help develop the doll with the prosthetic limb.
Other dolls in the 2019 Fashionistas line included a new braided hair texture, a more realistic body type, less defined waist and more defined arms and new dolls that reflect physical disabilities.
Barbie’s efforts to broader diversity and inclusivity is resonating; the top selling doll for almost every week in 2019 was a curvy black fashionista with an afro hairstyle.
The vitiligo doll will be available in spring 2020, with the doll with no hair and doll with prosthetic limb available later this year.
Author: Leanna Faulk, TEGNA