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  • Writer's pictureMariana Bier

Barbie through generations - how does this impacts fashion industry

Barbie, Barbiecore, barbieworld, barbieland. As we talked about in our last blogpost, the new Barbie movie, directed and co-written by Greta Gerwig, has started a worldwide Barbietrend. Besides being a doll especially made for kids to play with, Barbie can teach us a lot about consumerism, industry, social behavior values and also fashion. Barbie represented - and now, with a new movie, keeps representing - a lot about how women behave, or better, how they should behave. In thisa rticle, we're going to take a look through Barbie history and analyze how she impacted the world through generations.


How it all started - when was Barbie created


The first Barbie created in 1959
The first Barbie created in 1959

Barbie was born in a post war context, a time that the economy and the consumers were being insited. And Barbie dolls were there to represent the modern woman, a woman who was able to be anything she wanted to. Barbie was released in 1959 and was created by Ruth Handler motivated by her daughter's desire to play with dolls. On a family trip to Europe, Ruth saw her daughter playing with a paper doll and by that, she realized the necessity of creating a doll with a more resistant material. One of those paper dolls which were a sort of inspiration to Barbie was called “Bild Lili” and was a German doll made for grown up men; it was related to porn.


So, in the first year of sales, Barbie was being sold for three dollars and it already became a success. Mattel first intended to sell Barbie to teenagers, that’s one of the reasons why Barbie is always aware of fashion. Due to the first good impressions, Barbie came up with different models and clothes.


Even though Barbie exemplifies a woman with a perfect body and a perfect life, she also represented the independence acquired from women in 1960. Barbie was always a woman who works, has her own house, her own car, and owns her own business.


Barbie and children's advertising


Children adversising/ From: Unplash
Children adversising/ From: Unplash

The Mattel industry wasn't just making Barbie famous, but also all her entire universe. It started to be created with Barbie movies, clothes, accessories, and more. Barbie started to look like a brand and children started to be seen as consumers. The Barbie slogans were all destined to instigate girls with the desire to buy it, such as “Imagine You’re A Barbie Girl”, “We girls can do anything”, “We can do anything, like Barbie”.


Barbie has becaming a real conversation point, especially talking about kids because it's at the first 8 years that we do create our personality. And kids can’t see the difference between a content that tries to sell something to them, or something that is teaching them - at least not as clearly as we, as adults, see it. Yet not just influencing kids behavior, Barbie also reflects social values and what's on the media. For example, In 1965, astronaut Barbie were released even before men went to the moon. Also in 1992 she ran for president, before a woman did in the United States. That shows how Barbie represents in a certain way what is happening in the world and how women wish to also be included.


American attitudes have shaped Barbie as much as she has shaped them. When American women invaded male professions, Barbie did too. As Americans began to appreciate diversity, the California blonde came out in various colors. Today, notions of female allure are beginning to value athletic and independent women, and Mattel is following. - Editorial Observer ; The New Age Barbie Is an Old-Fashioned Doll, By Tina Rosenberg,

Barbie and the fashion world


As Barbie was in all that was happening each time in history, she was also active in fashion. Barbie was always wearing the most iconic looks a doll can dress, that were all related to what was on the media. Barbie looks from 1960, which were still inspired by 1950 fashion trends, were hightlighted by big and shaped skirts, as we can see in the images.






1960 was a politically and culturally important decade for the United States. A counterculture movement began, in terms of identity, family unit, sexuality, dress, and the arts. The youth started to reject social norms and racial, ethnic, and political injustices. In fashion, this movement appears in more colorful clothes, some of them without gender definition, and more oversized clothes. So, one more time, Barbie was there, representing this important time.




Barbie movieandfashion in today’smodernworld


With the new Barbie movie starring Margot Robie, Barbie again influenced the fashion world. Months before the Barbie movie debuted, the internet was shocked by the spoilers and backstage images of the movie. On Instagram and on TikTok it started Barbiecore. That is an asthetic inspired by Barbie based on the pink color. It highlights elements such as shiny colors, glitter, mini skirts, and 2000's clothes. The Barbiecore trend started with the Pink PP collection 2022/2023 Valentino.



In the Barbie movie, the costume was all designed by Jacqueline Durran and had the participation of Channel. Most of the looks that Margot Robie was wearing at the movie were from Channel. The looks shown in the movie are related to 70’s and 80’s looks, relevant to the time the movie referecing.


Also behind the scenes, Margot Robie took seriously the mission to keep being the Barbie it girl, with is know by Method dressing, which is basically use the clothes and aesthetic of the character, not just on set, but also off it.


Just like in the movie, off the movie, Margot Robie used a lot of pink clothes - and also pink accessories, which we, at Clutch Bags, paied speciall attention to the. Looking at the handbags, some characteristics remain the same in a lot of them, such as the colors, the rigid shape, shiny elements, and also metals - and we love it. We’ll keep an eye on Barbiecore trends and let you know what’s new on trend!


PHOTO: JAAP BUITENDIJK/WARNER BROS.
PHOTO: JAAP BUITENDIJK/WARNER BROS.







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