Mattel’s latest efforts to revive the ailing Barbie doll brand introduces 23 dolls with 14 different faces, eight skin tones, 18 eye colors, 22 hair styles and 23 hair colors—all with adjustable ankles and a line of flat shoes to go with them.
“The Barbie Fashionistas line was designed to represent the world girls see around them,” said Ani Istanboulian, a spokeswoman for Mattel. With their “authentic street style,” this line represents “the continued evolution of the Barbie brand,” according to Istanboulian.
This is seen as an 11th-hour effort by Mattel to keep Barbie relevant as the global toy manufacturer strives to rebound from sagging Barbie doll sales over the past six straight quarters. Barbie had been delivering a quarter of Mattel’s overall sales, but as girls’ interests have moved off fashion models to super-women and inspirational toys and dolls, the company is adjusting course.
In April, Mattel struck a deal to license characters from Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment for a 2015 year-end holiday season launch of a DC Super Hero Girls franchise of teenage female superheroes, including Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Bumble Bee, Poison Ivy, Batgirl, Harley Quinn and Katana.
Barbie first hit the toy scene in 1959 and held an iconic position for girls for decades. Estimates are over a billion Barbie dolls have been sold worldwide in over 150 countries, and Mattel claims three Barbie dolls are sold every second.
A standard Barbie doll is 11.5 inches tall, giving a height of 5 feet 9 inches at 1/6 scale. Her full-size measurements are estimated to be 36-inch chest, 18-inch waist and 33-inch hips.
Time will tell if a Barbie with flexible ankles and flat shoes will make her more relevant to girls worldwide.