Mattel’s new line of Black dolls, So In Style, has hit store shelves in time for the holiday shopping season.
So In Style (S.I.S. for short) sprang into existence when Mattel decided to move Barbie’s BFF Grace from Malibu to Chicago. With the move came a baby sister named Courtney. Mattel also created two friends for Grace, Trichelle and Kara, who also have their own little sisters.
The line was designed by Stacey McBride-Irby, a Black woman who’s been designing Barbies for more than decade. But she credits her daughter with the original inspiration for the line because she wanted her baby girl to have to be able to play with fashion dolls that she could relate to.
“I wanted to make sure that the makeup and face and skin tone was true to girls in my community, “ Stacey said in a press release. “And I wanted to make sure that this doll had fuller nose, fuller lips and was really cute.”
Grace, Trichelle and Kara each have their own distinct personalities and interests ranging from music to math. And Stacey paired each of the older dolls with a little sister to foster the idea of mentorship in pursuing one’s goals.
“I believe that a happy inspired childhood creates happy, inspired, powerful women,” she added. “I want my new So In Style dolls to not only be an authentic representation of my community and culture, but to also encourage girls to be inspired and dream big.”
But the Barbie experience wouldn’t be complete if you couldn’t style her hair. A girl’s got to have options!
Mattel has remixed the S.I.S. line by replacing their hair with aqua curl fiber that lets mini divas switch up their dolls styles with just a spritz of water. One version of Grace’s doll even comes with hair extensions and a curling iron.
– Sonya Eskridge