Fashion designer brings Barbie to the runway: but why?

By Brooke Bigda

Comment Contributor

Barbie's influence on young girls has been in question for years, bringing a lot of debate regarding Scott's decision to create this fashion line. Photo by Brooke Bigda.
Barbie’s influence on young girls has been in question for years, bringing a lot of debate regarding Scott’s decision to create this fashion line. Photo by Brooke Bigda.


Since 1959, Barbie had been a part of our childhood, not just as a toy, but as a best friend.

Being shown in over 40 different nationalities, having over 150 careers, creating her very own movie franchise, and having her own fashion label, it’s no wonder that Barbie became so popular and has powerful influence in pop culture.  In fact, over the years, she had even made her mark on the runway and in high fashion.

On September 18th, Creative Director for Moschino Jeremy Scott had stunned the world with his new designs for his Runway Capsule Collection for spring/summer 2015.

Inspired by the famous Barbie, the iconic fashion doll has taken the runway by surprise. Scott’s collection includes bright colored tops, sweaters, bags, and not to mention the various accessories, including the mirrored iPhone case that is an actual handheld mirror. This sounds like the best friend of any selfie fanatic.

Although this seems to already become a popular trend in the fashion world, we ask ourselves: is having Barbie as a role model for young girls a good idea?  For decades, Barbie was the model for how young women should look and dress.

By creating Barbie with large breasts, a tiny waist, and being absolutely flawless, she was viewed as the gateway to future problems for their customers, including eating disorders and being diagnosed with Body Dysmorphic Disorder.  This negative ideal body image had unintentionally created controversy within our society.

By putting tall, thin models in blonde wigs and walking down the runway wearing bright pink from head to toe to the song “Barbie’s World”, it continued the controversial topic as favoring Barbie as a fashion icon for young women.

Although some critics saw Scott’s designs as ‘trashy’ or ‘brainless,’ it seemed that the new capsule collection was a huge success.

In fact, after the fashion show, Twitter was roaring with positive reactions to Scott’s collection from Moschino fans.

“Omg LIVING for the Barbie-themed Moschino show!! #mfw14”, said Twitter user @lorinjetter, and fellow Moschino fan @nilozkann says, “Having ultimate throwback just because of Moschino. Good job Jeff #mfw14.”

Scott had reacted to the negative reactions from critics by stating in an interview with The Daily Telegraph, “I think Barbie brings joy. And that’s what I try and do in my work. I am a controversial person too. We are very much in line together. And I think some people dig way too deep about this. It’s a doll. It’s a toy. And on my side – it’s only fashion.”

It is clear that these individuals are not concerned with the body images, but are only looking at the cool, stylish outfits and accessories that embodies Barbie’s image.  Others look at the concept of Barbie as a unique representation of young women, who show their creativity, talent, and fun personalities through art and fashion.

Not only that, seeing all the careers she had made and the productions of Barbie dolls in different ethnic backgrounds, we can say that Barbie had become a great influence to young girls all over the world.

Even though we would all love to blame Barbie as the reason for the social views on beauty, it is also important to consider that it may not just be her fault at all.  When Barbie was first created in 1959, her looks were based on famous actress and sex icon, Marilyn Monroe.

The makers of Mattel had purposely made her appearance based on the social expectations of beauty.  Their job was to make a toy that was not only enjoyable to play with, but one whose appearance is very attractive to their customers.

Perhaps, instead of attacking a toy and its company, we need to fix our social standards.  Maybe then, we could have realistic looking dolls that will relate to all women, with different body types.


Brooke Bigda is a Comment Contributor.


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