The Barbie Experience: Equal Representation

Growing up, for many young girls and myself included, having a Barbie represented dispelling reality to create a fantasy world where pint-size figurines took over the world in amazing fashions. Having the option to dress my plastic friend in clothes I wished existed in my closet amplified my desire to own a Barbie. The plethora of style options I owned allowed me to create any kind of Barbie I wanted with the change of an outfit.

It didn’t dawn on me that a representation of myself was lacking in my created Barbie world until Mattel, the toy manufacturing company for Barbie, produced a replica doll of the singer Brandy(1999) and the movie Life-Size(2000) was released, which depicted model Tyra Bank playing a Barbie doll turned human. Seeing a different version, besides the predominately white, bleach blond hair and anorexic skinny plastic figure, of Barbie allowed me to contrive an utopia where a sense of my identity was displayed in the world I created in my head.

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It is estimated that a billion Barbie dolls have been sold in over 150 countries with three Barbie dolls approximately selling every second. Barbie is a cultural icon that represents American fashion and beauty standards. Due to Barbie’s image, the doll received major criticism, with many stating that the doll is sexual provocative and portrays an unrealistic image of female beauty. The popular toy communicates to the world that only one identity of beauty exist.

Attempting to change the iconic image, Barbie recently introduced the evolution of Barbie call the Fashionista which highlights four different body types (petite, curvy and tall), seven various skin tones and a myriad of eye colors and hairstyles.

Further revolutionizing Barbie’s image, Haneefah Adam, medical scientist and blogger, created garments that showcase a more modesty look for Barbie called @hijarbie. The 24-year-old from Nigeria told mic.com that she wanted to have a doll that looked like her.

“I want them to be inspired — this is about having an alternative and creating an awareness of having toys that adopts your religion and culture and in your own likeness,” mentioned Adam “at the end of the day, leads to an improvement in self-esteem.”

How do you feel about the evolution of Barbie?

InstaBragging: Bryce Lennon of UnregisteredStyle

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Instagram created the perfect social platform that allow individuals to play into their narcissism and have become a powerful tool in promoting oneself and/or brand. Scrolling through the countless pictures broadcasted, I’m constantly impressed by the way people are able to use their Instagram to standout among the sea of noise. Instabragging is a feature section that highlights fashion connoisseurs that have their finger on the pulse of fashion and are setting the wave.

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UnregisteredStyle broadcast the looks of everyday people.  The creator of the website, Bryce, shows individuals how to go from work day casual to after hour chic. He provides a modernistic perspective on men’s fashion. If you are a guy who is a little confused on whether on not men can wear pink or if skinny legs should be allowed, he erase the limited boundaries of do’s and don’t and reveals ways to create individual style.  Listed below are five versatile looks for men.

The Power of Broke: FUBU founder shares his knowledge on maintaining success

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Daymond John is highlighted in the documentary Fresh Dressed as being one of the pioneers that curated a voice for urban youth through fashion in hip hop culture. John launched FUBU, a clothing brand that celebrated the idea of “For Us, By Us.” His influence in the hip hop community turned a clothing company that operated on a $40 budget into a $6 billion industry. In a recent interview with Sway Calloway he talks about his newly released book The Power of Broke 

John explain that the power of broke is the “hunger, drive, and instinct that nothing is going to stop you.”

 

 

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Muslim Fashion Takes Center Stage

 

The hijab, which means curtain in Arabic is a head covering often worn by Muslim women to represent modesty and dignity. Dolce & Gabbana recent release of hijab and abayas sparked a viral conversation leaving some pleased and others questioning the motives behind the debut collection. While Dolce & Gabbana collection went viral on the internet, it is not the only luxury brand with their hand in the niche fashion market. In 2014 DKNY launched a collection in honor of Ramadan, a month long holiday for Muslims. The collection consisted of modest silhouettes and bold-color dresses.

With anti-Muslim sentiment prevalent in America many suggest that widely-recognized luxury brands catering to Muslim women signifies a shift in the negative perception of Muslims. In identifying Islamophobia, an exaggerated fear/hatred towards Islam and Muslim, Gallup mentions that a great deal of anti-Muslim sentiment stems from the 9/11 attack and misrepresentation of information portrayed in the media, indicating that all Muslims are terrorist or treats. A Gallup poll reported in 2011 states that 52% of Americans believe western societies do not respect Muslims. 

Fashion is often used as a form of expression and communication. Therefore, well known designers creating garments for a niche group helps to shed light on the specific needs of a group, while helping to create a sense of acceptance from mainstream audiences. Reina Lewis, professor of cultural studies at London College of Fashion UAL, explains to Refinery29 in an interview that “it can feel obliterating if your faith isn’t reflected on the shelves.” While some Muslim woman may be ecstatic about having a voice in fashion, Lewis further explain that shinning a light on Muslim women fashion opens the door for consumer capitalism.