Toy manufacturer Mattel has released their 2022 Día de los Muertos Barbie and Ken dolls. The new dolls are a part of a broader initiative to make Barbie more inclusive. In 2015, Mattel added curvy, tall, and petite body types to the iconic toy line. Two years later, Ken got an update too with more diverse body types and features, which included cornrows and freckles. In 2019, Barbie added dolls with permanent physical disabilities, including a doll with a wheelchair and another with a prosthetic leg.
This initiative is in response to decades of criticism about Barbie promoting unrealistic body standards, and focusing only on white consumers.
This will be the 4th Barbie honoring Día de Muertos since 2019. The three new dolls were created by Mexican-American designer Javier Meabe. “For this year’s doll, I worked very closely with our Latin American partners. I wanted the design to be full of vibrant colors and artwork. I lined up the previous Día De Muertos dolls and was inspired to bring some newness to this year’s line by giving Barbie a color-blocked dress with embroidery and pigment print artwork. I then used calavera makeup, marigolds, and sugar skull skeletons to tie all the previous dolls in the series together to feel like they are all from the same environment,” Meabe said.
The first Barbie wears a royal purple ruffled dress that has pigment-print skeletons, sugar skulls, and flower details. She is wearing a vibrant cempasúchil flower and rose headband with streaming ribbons.
Ken “has a little more complex design,” his charro look features a bright blue shirt under a vest decorated with skulls, flowers, roses, and bones. This outfit is accessorized by a calavera sugar skull bolero tie and a sombrero with a golden band.
Mattel also has its Barbie Signature line, celebrating in a collaboration with world-renowned fashion designer Benito Santos. This Barbie is based on traditional charro outfits and wears a bespoke black dress with a mermaid hemline. Both her skirt and cropped bolero jacket are accented by white and crimson embroidered details.
“Working with Benito Santos was a highly collaborative experience. What I loved the most about this collaboration was being able to bring Benito’s vision to life in a new way. He shared trend boards so we could understand what themes he was eager to convey, and then we worked together to bring his creative vision to a Barbie scale,” Meabe explained. “It was a passion project from both Benito’s team and the Barbie team. I’m thrilled to welcome Benito to the Barbie brand and share his vision of what it means to him to celebrate Día De Muertos with Barbie.”
The new Día De Muertos Ken and Barbies are available at most major retailers, and on the Mattel website.
Greta Gerwig‘s “Barbie” film, which stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as the iconic doll duo, is due in theaters July 21st, 2023.