Barbie has teamed up with Harlem’s Fashion Row to pay tribute to Black fashion designers.
The project spotlights the work of Black designers Hanifa, Kimberly Goldson and Rich Fresh. All designers have previously worked with Barbie’s parent company, Mattel. The editorial features doll-sized doubles of Hanifa’s, Goldson’s and Rich Fresh’s original designs, which are flawlessly modeled by diverse Barbies.
“Since its inception, Barbie has been a right of passage, an impression of self-awareness for young girls everywhere. Now, more than ever, Barbie celebrates our differences, and I’m excited that Harlem’s Fashion Row gets to play a part in widely diversifying their style too,” Brandice Daniel, CEO and founder of HFR, said in a statement. “With this Black History Month collaboration, black designers; Hanifa, Kimberly Goldson, and Rich Fresh, give Barbie fresh-off-the-runway appeal with their unique design aesthetics.”
Gone are the days of the standard, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Barbie dolls—as over recent years, Mattel has ushered in an age more reflected of the world we live in.
Patrick Henry (Fresh) cited “the level of inclusivity” he saw in the Barbie Universe as the reason for his participation.
“It’s important for kids of all cultures to see themselves. Representation is vital. Involving black creatives gives us the opportunity to contribute to the narrative. The significance of doing this during Black history month is important, but what’s more important is the continued efforts to involve creatives from all backgrounds to help represent themselves within the Barbie Universe.”
In one of the images, Barbie rocks the Hanifa Brooklyn Jacket.
“Who didn’t love Barbie as a little girl?! I loved my Barbie Dream House with the most perfect elevator, it gave me the chance to dream in real life. I’m so thankful for this opportunity to connect to my childhood and I’m happy to see that little Black girls everywhere can see themselves starting with their favorite toy,” Hanifa founder, Anifa Mvuemba, gushed.
Goldson’s Barbie was styled with a “Mari” multi-layered dress from the spring 2022 “Blissful Evolution” collection. The Barbie also has beautiful, floor-length box braids.
“It is powerful of Barbie to use her platform to help bridge the gap on the way we look at people of various shades and from different backgrounds,” noted Goldson. “That made it important for me to partner with her to wear Kimberly Goldson for Black History Month. I chose a look that personifies the KG aesthetic which is born of our Brooklyn culture and driven by luxury. She’s ready for Bed Stuy!”