Toy Trends: Bratz are Back and a new generation of dolls is born
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- Published on Wednesday, 28 October 2015 11:00
- Last Updated on 24 October 2015
- Monica Costa
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I make no secret of my love for fashion dolls and treasure my collection of 300+ fashion dolls. Call me crazy, call me infantile but I cannot resist the charm of Barbie, Bratz, Moxie Girlz, Steffi and Sindy. When I have a little bit of time, I love dressing them up for my own photo-shoot and make-believe games with my grown up girlfriends.
When I heard that Bratz were back in time for Christmas and re-launching in 28 different countries, I jumped for joy because Bratz are fun and quirky dolls with personality and could only make my fashion dolls’ collection more colourful.
I recently met Andrew Laughton, MD of MGA UK and asked him about dolls’ trends and a few tricky questions on the healthy body image debate.
Q: What is your position in the ongoing competition between Bratz versus Barbie dolls?
AL: Bratz is offering something different to other fashion dolls. When they launched it was something that was totally, ground-breaking, diverse culturally, stylistically fashion-wise. It was before it’s time in 2001. But now it’s for this time because kids now are far more socially aware of different ethnicities, changing cultures, their styles like iconic people such Rita Ora, Rihanna.
We don’t want to turn kids into anything. We just want them to be themselves. That might change from one season to another as fashion changes. We have to sell toys but we have to make it relevant to today and perhaps in 2001-2002 kids didn’t have that opportunity to view what was going on in the fashion market. They were just used to a certain style and that was it. There were no social networking, no real internet for kids to access. Kids are far more aware and savvy now of what’s going on around them. That’s why Bratz are more relevant now than it ever was. We have waited a number of years to come back with new dolls’ characters and modern themes (selfies etc).
Barbie is an iconic toy and it will be like that forever. We don’t want to compete with that so we offer a different choice of fashion dolls.
Q: Are Bratzlillaz the answer to Monster High dolls?
AL: Monsters was a trend but now we are looking at what is relevant to today. We are adults creating toys for children. We cannot get away from what the Bratz brand stands for with the iconic styling but we have to make it relevant to as bigger group of people as possible. We know that Bratz is a Marmite brand: either you love it or hate it. We understand that and that’s why it’s very important that we communicate to the parents and grandparents as well why we are doing this now and the subtle changes we have made to overcome some of their concerns about our dolls. Soon we will be launching an app where the dolls and the app will be linked. The online content connected to the toys will contribute to the ‘Bratzification’ (giggle) of the fashion dolls’ market.
Q: What’s the vision for the future of dolls?
AL: The future is about managing a brand. We are not in for a fast buck in 2015. We are projected in the future. We are following the trends, the kids who tell us what they want to be or what they aspire to be. Barbie makers follow their route and we follow our route to be relevant to today’s children. Emoji culture, for example, is a hot trend at the moment among young people but it hasn’t been picked up in the toy arena yet. That’s where we bridge the gap between fashion and toy. You’ll notice emoji in some of our new Bratz products.
Q: With all the sexualisation of dolls and the healthy body image debate what is the future of dolls? Where does Bratz stand on this debate in 2015? The normal size (not skinny) fashion doll by Lammily doesn’t seem to pick up really….
AL: The healthy body image debate is beyond our control. Our dolls are caricatures. This is the main difference between Bratz and Barbie. Barbie is meant to look like someone who is real but Bratz dolls are caricatures of real people and they have, for instance, big feet compared to their body size.
We promote strong female characters and we focus more on the individuality. We have just launched another doll called MC Squared that come with experiments, some content that you can use household material in order to do scientific experiments and is trying to promote science for girls.
MC2 (MC Squared) has its own TV content on Netflix too.
Bratz is a fashion brand, while MC Squared is an educational geeky brand. You cannot pigeonhole kids these days. We promote the freedom to be yourself and comfortable in your own self. It’s not un-cool to be clever!
Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums