Barbie's got a brand new body. Ahead of New York Toy Fair, the traditional reveal for such major changes in collectibles, action figures, dolls, and more, Mattel has announced three new body shapes for their timeless Barbie dolls. The announcement is a TIME Magazine cover story, and the most major change to the world's most famous doll in its 57 year history.
The new body types are petite, tall, and curvy, and are being added to the line that will still include the traditional original style. All four models are still called Barbie, an important distinction - they're not making these others "Barbie's pals" or something of the sort - they're all Barbie. The new dolls go on sale January 28 on Barbie.com (and presumably in stores soon after). She'll also come with different hair colors and races.
Barbie's brand numbers are stunning - $1 billion/year, 150 countries, and 92% of girls 3-12 in the U.S. have owned at least one Barbie doll. The new initiative, called "Project Dawn," is risky - that level of brand recognition will make some consumers resistant to change, despite the best of intentions from Mattel and their design team. Granted, even with those numbers, Mattel has fallen behind LEGO and Hasbro's Disney Princess line, thanks in large part to Elsa from Frozen, as the ice princess froze Barbie in her tracks, overtaking her as the most popular girl's toy worldwide.
Check out TIME for their full, in-depth cover article, talking about the impetus behind presenting other Barbie bodies, and what they're trying to do to change the conversation.