- Buyer Box
- 2019 Earnie Awards
- Market Calendar
Barbie Turns 60!
Barbie’s 60th birthday exhibition inspires young girls at the January edition of Pitti Immagine Bimbo.
The year was 1959: Alaska became the 49th state, …
The year was 1959: Alaska became the 49th state, Fidel Castro rose to power in Cuba, NASA introduced the first astronauts (including moon walker Alan Shepard) and Mattel introduced Barbie. Little did the world know back then that the quintessential American woman would have more staying power than even Castro! Marking the big 6-0 (although she still doesn’t look a day over 20), Mattel is embarking on a worldwide birthday bash, celebrating Barbie’s mission to motivate and inspire young girls to dream big like she has for generations.
“Barbie has always represented choices for girls and inspired them to be anything,” says Marissa Beck, a Mattel spokesperson. “From princess to president, astronaut to robotics engineer, there isn’t a plastic ceiling that Barbie hasn’t broken.”
Despite the average toy brand only lasting three to five years, Barbie has proven her staying power, evolving to reflect children as society changes. “Because Barbie has evolved beyond just a doll to a global power franchise, she offers a variety of ways for fans to connect with her through content, programming and product to inspire storytelling and imagination,” Beck says. With today’s movement of female empowerment, Barbie’s messaging is even more relevant. This year, Barbie will be highlighting careers she’s had in the past, including occupations where women are still underrepresented such as firefighter, astronaut and political candidate.
Barbie is even championing girls’ limitless potential with the Dream Gap Project, which is Barbie’s multi-year global initiative to raise awareness around limiting factors that prevent girls from reaching their full potential. The goal of The Dream Gap Project is to leverage Barbie’s global platforms to educate society on gender biases and inspire supporters to join in inspiring girls to be anything.
In celebration of the anniversary, the brand is launching special career and anniversary dolls, along with other offerings. Brand partners and retailers will collaborate globally to host experiential celebrations for customers to engage with Barbie for her milestone. The iconic doll will also continue its Role Model program, celebrating global role models (or “Sheroes” as Barbie calls them) who are breaking boundaries for the next generation of girls. “Our founder, Ruth Handler, created Barbie to inspire the limitless potential in every girl and that remains our driving mission 60 years later,” Beck says. “As the Barbie team, we hope to leave this brand better than we found it, and we do not take the responsibility lightly.”
Known for its luxury cashmere knitwear, Autumn Cashmere is releasing a boys’ capsule collection for Fall ’19. The brand has been growing its childrenswear clientele since launching a girls’ line in 2012, and the expansion is the next stage of growth, according to Amanda Wachsmuth, sales director for the children’s and men’s collections. “Customers have shown interest in boys, so we wanted to introduce it as a small capsule,” she says.
Made with Merino wool and cashmere, the collection includes five styles, sizes 4 to 16. The line features core basics like a ribbed bottom crew, two-button thermal Henley, color-block saddle shoulder, cool-cover stitching and a camo print. The suggested retail range is from $130 to $150.
Wachsmuth reports strong initial feedback from buyers, which has encouraged the brand to expand into a full collection in future seasons. “It’s been very exciting,” she says. “We’re known for our cool graphics and prints, so that’s definitely something we’d love to showcase more in the future.”
Elegant Baby is adding two well-known children’s apparel representatives in the New York and Midwest territories, respectively. The new partnerships are part of a strategic growth plan that includes increasing brand awareness and consumer engagement with a focus on specialty retailers.
Ali Moroze of Ali’s Market brings a degree in fashion and more than 13 years of experience to her award-winning Manhattan showroom. Husband and wife duo Tom and Vicki Leckie of Victoria’s Keepsakes have represented brands from their headquarters in Redford, MI, since 1989, and will be overseeing the Midwest region.
“Their unique understanding of their markets and unbridled enthusiasm are tremendous assets,” says Yates Hooper, president and CEO of Elegant Baby. “I’m excited knowing they will bring Elegant Baby to new accounts within the children’s apparel market.”