The iconic fashion doll Barbie is set to turn 60 on 9th March! And she is going stronger and more popular than ever! On the occasion of her 60th birthday, we thought we would share with you a chronology of events that show the evolution of the most-loved doll of all time.
She has adapted to the changing times, and today, she has a huge social media presence too. She has her own Twitter and Instagram accounts through which she consistently updates her fans. Of course, she has had her fair share of controversies but she still remains the most admired one among her contemporaries.
Barbie’s official website says that her purpose is to “inspire the limitless potential in every girl,” and there is no denying that she has been doing so through the years.
Here is a chronology of events of her evolution:
Barbie was created by Ruth Handler, the co-founder of Mattel after she saw her daughter playing with paper dolls. This inspired her to create a 3-D doll for girls. Barbie was also named after Handler’s daughter Barbara.
1959: Barbie made her debut on 9th March 1959 at the American Toy Fair in New York. The first Barbie wore a black and white swimsuit and a ponytail. A massive 350,000 Barbies were sold in the first year of its release.
1960: Barbie released her first career as that of a Fashion Editor. This was followed by her becoming a registered nurse and flight attendant in 1961, and an executive career girl in 1963.
1961: Mattel debuted Ken, Barbie’s boyfriend after receiving letters from tons of Barbie’s fans asking for her boyfriend.
1968: In a bid to become more diverse, Mattel released Christie, a black doll, as a friend of Barbie.
1981: Mattel released its ‘Dolls of the World’ collection in which cultures of different nations were celebrated.
2010: Barbie’s first app called ‘Barbie Fashionistas Swappin’ Styles’ came into the market, allowing users to create their own fashion looks.
2014: Barbie has her own Instagram handle @barbiestyle.
2016: In a bid to become more inclusive and represent all girls across the world, Mattel introduces three body types – curvy, petite, and tall. She also makes it to the cover of TIME magazine.
Along the way, Barbie has had over 200 professions that include a computer engineer, a zoologist, a palaeontologist, a director, and an aviator. However, she has also been criticized for her unrealistic body and Mattel has worked hard to ensure that she breaks stereotypes by introducing various skin tones and body types.
Also, Mattel has also released Barbies inspired by celebrities. For instance, Beyonce, Cher, Marilyn Monroe, and J.K Rowling have all inspired Mattel to create newer versions of Barbies.
Today, a whopping 58 million Barbies are sold annually in more than 150 countries across the globe.
The entire process of creating a Barbie can last from anywhere between a year to eighteen months. It begins with a sketch followed by sculpting, styling, and crafting by experts. This prototype is then sent for mass production to factories in China and Indonesia.
Isn’t this truly amazing? Happy Birthday, Barbie! Hoping you inspire a lot more generation of children.