After the iconic ' All Black ' Vogue issue was published and it sold out news stand all across the world. Now Barbie wants in and has teamed up with the fashion magazine to continue breaking down the fashion barriers
Last year Vogue Italia broke one of fashion's most controversial taboos and created the first ever 'black' issue; dedicated to the world's most successful and influential black models. After selling out in taly, the UK and America, 40,000 re-prints were ordered, with the tagline 'Most Wanted Issue Ever!'
So, why did this phenomenon take so long to come around? The justification often given was that 'black models do not sell.' It is difficult for anyone to understand how untrue that statement is considering that fashion designers have become so dependant on influences from around the world and that black people are often cited as amongst the highest consumer spenders in the US/UK for material goods.
Vogue Italia's stance was seen as progress by some and derided as tokenism by others. After all, Jourdan Dunn became the first black model in 10 years to strut the Prada catwalk -- hardly a revolutionary stance by a revolutionary designer. Others accused Vogue of jumping on the Obama bandwagon. Undeterred ogue have continued with their 'All black' theme and have created a supplement focusing on 'black Barbie' through artistic photography and fashion. Mattel's new range of African-American Barbie, reflects the importance of ethnic representation within the toy market.
Consumers are demanding that the toys they give their children are relevant and in-touch with society today. Most of the previous black Barbies have not represented the physical aesthetics of a black woman. The new doll's facial features include fuller lips, a wider nose, though the hair is still long and straight.
The designer of this new range, Stacey McBride-Irby said: 'I believe that a happy inspired childhood creates happy, inspired, powerful women. Barbie inspired me to realise my dream of becoming a designer, and I want my new So In Style (S.I.S) dolls to allow girls to play, create, and aspire to live out their dreams in a way that is authentic to our community and culture.'
An extension of the Barbie brand, the S.I.S. story begins with Grace, who says goodbye to her friend Barbie in Malibu and moves to Chicago to embark on an exciting new adventure with her new best friends Kara and Trichelle. Together, the trio of fashionable girls mentor their little sisters Kianna, Courtney and Janessa by introducing them to activities like fashion, art, music and sports.
Although these dolls are not mirror-perfect, it is a positive step forward. The dolls focus on the importance of learning, aspiration and education. Barbie has been an icon for generations, influencing fashion and art, and respectively continues to reach people of all ages and ethnicities.