People tend to associate Barbie with little girls, pigtails and pink shoes, but the reality is that she is so much more. Since her first appearance at the New York Toy Fair in 1959 in her iconic black and white swimsuit, Barbie has grown into a global feminist fashion icon, a modern woman who has not only retained her title as a style icon for almost 60 years, but also represents all the possibilities open to young women today.
It’s no wonder that the brand is making in-roads in girls fashion, from the ever-popular Barbie branded ranges aimed at three to seven year olds, through to collaborations with a variety of cool teen brands, including the most recent global tie-ins with uber cool kids Puma and Missguided, and on the local front a joint promotion with The Foschini Group fashion brand, The FIX.
“Over the past couple of years, the Barbie brand has grown beyond our wildest imagination,” says Lezelle Brits, Managing Director at Blue Horizon Licensing, who are the Licensing Agents for Mattel, Inc for over 15 years.
“Barbie is still the number one doll brand worldwide, and the number one toy property with a 99% brand awareness, but since the advent of the digital world, she has become a global fashion celebrity – with over 14.4 million Facebook fans, 4 million active website users, 3.2 million YouTube subscribers, 1.9 million Instagram followers and 268 000 Twitter followers.”
In fact, @BarbieStyle is one of the world’s fastest-growing Instagram accounts.
“From a fashion perspective, there is no beating Barbie,” says Blue Horizon’s Creative Manager Leanne Berger.
Outfits through the years
Since 1959, Barbie has worn over one billion different outfits, and collaborated with the world’s top designers and design houses, including the likes of Oscar de la Renta, Givenchy, Bob Mackie, Christian Dior, Christian Louboutin, Versace, Vera Wang and Ralph Lauren, to name but a few. In 2009, in honour of her 50th birthday, 50 of the world’s top designers created couture looks for the first ever Barbie runway fashion show.
Perhaps the biggest fashion breakthrough happened in 2016, with the introduction of the stereotype-shattering Fashionista range, which saw the blonde, blue-eyed icon hit shelves in a variety of skin tones, hair textures, and body types – to better represent a more varied reality. The range now includes four body types (the original and three new shapes – petite, curvy, and tall), seven skin tones, 14 facial structures, 22 eye colors, 24 hairstyles and countless on-trend fashions and accessories to suit every type of girl.
For the Fashionable Girl
This Winter, Blue Horizon is proud to announce the arrival of a range of fashion items aimed at Barbie girls across the ages, from three to fourteen.
Hot off the press is a competition aimed at aspiring fashionistas to design a Barbie-inspired dress, or outfit, that will see one lucky girl win a real-life version of her design made just for her, plus a matching one for her Barbie, and a fabulous fashion shoot to boot! The winner will also feature in the Barbie magazine, plus win a Barbie hamper to the value of R1000.
If you aren’t into designing, but still into fashion, Ackermans has a range of cool tops and T’s perfect for not-so-little girls, sporting on-trend slogans such as ‘Little but Mighty’,” Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful”, and “Happiness Looks Gorgeous on You”. Prices range from R59.95 to R79.95.
Pair a trendy T with a fashion Barbie digital watch, available from Toy Kingdom, Hamley’s, CNA and Toys R Us, for only R69.95. And finish the outfit off with some funky nails and fun lips – courtesy of Barbie nail polish and lip gloss, priced from R24.99, and available at Jet and Jetmart stores.
For the younger girls
For the younger girls, Blue Horizon is excited to release the Barbie Styling Head, allowing little girls to set their inner hairstylist free – without risking their own curls, of course. The glitter styling set includes a hairbrush, barettes and a host of glamourous accessories that encourage little girls to make their own mix and match hair styling pieces. The Styling Head is available from Toy Kingdom, Hamley’s, Toys R Us, Takealot and Toyzone, priced at R599.95.
“We are truly proud to represent a brand that that celebrates and inspires girls of all ages, from all over the world, to be anything that they want to be,” says Berger.
“Fashion icons come and go, but Barbie is forever.”