In this post I thought that I would show you what fashion dolls are on sale in Hobart at the moment. I visited two stores. Myers, a department store, and Target a few weeks ago. There is a Toyworld store in Hobart but it is not open on Saturday afternoons. There are no K Mart or Big W stores in the CBD but they would have pretty much the same as what I saw I think.
I remember when you could go into any store that sold toys and you could pick the Barbie aisle easily from its distinctive decor and line of pink boxes. These days Barbie occupies just a couple of shelves and if she’s lucky doesn’t have to share them with Disney, Monster High etc.
I’ve made no secret of my disappointment with the current playline so my infrequent trips to the shops are usually made just in the hope that there will be something I like there at a good price. On this trip I saw a collection of dolls I just found either ugly or over priced or both. I should warn readers that I am going to rant here. Some of my dislikes are based on poor designs and cheap materials some are just personal taste. I am not judging those that like them but I feel that dolls could be made kid friendly without pandering to fads. I guess that one of the biggest problems with playline is that the manufacturers market them to a very young age group, roughly 3-7 years I think. The dolls are generally related to something the kids will see on television/online or they are princesses, fairies or mermaids. My generation played with dolls for much longer. In fact at seven you were probably just getting started with fashion dolls, not giving them away because you were too old for them. So just as children are getting to the age where they can manipulate small parts and enjoy choosing outfits and dressing their fashion dolls they are not playing with them any more. Seven year olds seem to be pre-pre teens.
Anyway here is what I saw.
This lot had clothing that was mostly plastic. I’m not even sure if Mermaid Barbie has legs. This really irks me because it looks cheap and you can’t redress the dolls. Where is the fun in that?
This may be the ugliest Barbie I have ever seen.
Even Holiday Barbie is half plastic. Tacky! And she cost nearly $70.
They did have some Made to Move Barbies but at $25 in Australia I think they are a bit expensive to frankendolly and I find their faces bland. I thought that the one with the extra fashions was probably better value but she looks a lot like the Millie faced doll I already have. I have to agree with a reader who recently commented that she thought the Millie face looked vapid. It is my biggest gripe with the current playline. They look blank.
Of course there were Fashionistas and quite a variety, most of these were around $17 I think. I do applaud the diversity but as I don’t like painted hair Ken’s , shaved heads or pink and purple hair I guess I won’t be buying many of these. That’s just personal taste. I’m sure that kids like it because it reflects their own styles. As a Baby Boomer it doesn’t reflect mine. As for that mismatched plaid outfit don’t get me started, is this what the kids are wearing now?
There was a big push on to sell Dreamtopia dolls. I saw a lot of them at the stores I visited. I find these rather tacky. Some of the clone dolls from the sixties looked better than this.
Chelsea seems to be very popular. I saw a lot of Chelsea dolls including some larger ones. the playsets were quite good. I still don’t get why Mattel decided to change her name from Kelly to Chelsea but then they have been doing that with Barbie friends for twenty years or more. Who knows why they do anything any more?
Apart from Barbie there were a few other dolls well represented. Disney of course had a lion’s share of the space. I had never seen Shopkins before but there were quite a lot of them in Target. Monster High still has shelf space but had to share it with Project MC. I will say although I still think their heads are too big I did like the faces of the Project MC girls but not enough to buy any. If I wait six months I’m sure some will turn up at the Op Shop needing to be redressed.