Believe it or not, but there is a truth about all her collectors. The truth is that her admirers are all different. They have different motives to collect. What we all have in common is the passion for one doll – Barbie doll. Some consider her as shero, icon, object of desire or childhood memory. Some try to look like Barbie or they have a Barbie tattoo or do strange things with their bodies to look like Barbie. I think I differ from my fellow collectors in the case that I don’t want simply to collect or have a look at the dolls but I also want to learn. The learning motive is something likely to be forgotten.
Do I need only one motive to collect?
When the TV people come they are always open for sensations. You often read about the proportion stuff. You know her body is unrealistic. I know it too, but I never felt the desire to look like Barbie. My motives are different. I’ve been interested in learning about fashion and fashion history since I was ten years old. At that time I had the first lessons in history and we learned about ancient Egypt and I wondered how the people back then ran around. What did they wear? Did the wall paintings in the Pyramids tell the truth? Could somebody wear the fashion from back then nowadays? I know not every 10-year old girl would ask herself these questions, but I’ve had a thirst for knowledge.
Brand-awareness in pre-teens?
In the mid 90s when I was 10 years old I saw my fellow classmates wearing fashion from certain brands. The older we grew the more brands appeared. I also started to wonder what these brands wanted to tell me. How did the fashions looked like? That was the time when many Designer Labels did a Barbie doll like Macy, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and many more. The clothes themselves were way much too expensive for me, but I saw it as a way to have something from these brands at home. Something in the long run, not like the clothes you wear and throw away later. I really loved the Escada Barbie from 1996 the first time ever I saw her in a catalog. I have some of the Designer Barbies from the mid 1990s but not all. I sold my regular Playline Barbie dolls for the Designer Barbie dolls. They were very expensive back then. Little did I know about what would later come.
Interests in collecting expanded
I’m a long time collector and I don’t regret it to be one. Collecting things is in my blood. I got the genes from my parents. I started back in1996 and I knew I wanted to be a collector. For 10 years collecting itself was okay, but my interests expanded. My interest in Playline dolls, the ones with the pink boxes that you’ve probably seen until the early 2000s grew. So I started also to collect some 90s Barbie dolls I had when I was little. They were not expensive back then and ebay the place to go. That was the time my interest changed for the first time a bit, but it wasn’t the only time. In the early 2000s amazon offered books in Germany too, and it was the first time I had access to them. Before it was complicated to order non-German books.
Social Media is helpful
So after my first book purchases from amazon I learned about early Barbie fashions, identification and got in contact with other collectors for the first time. That’s good and bad at the same time. It’s good because you can learn a lot, meet new friends and buy Barbie dolls you are looking for. You can learn about the release of new dolls. That’s positive, but there are also negative effects like stalkers. They try to give you a hard time. Like in every community there is jealousy. I found my interest in doing extended research and doing repairs the Social Media. I saw some other collectors did it and I tried it and had success.
No negative effects in my life
I’ve never had the wish to transform myself into a Barbie doll. That may attract other persons, but I’ve never had the wish. Barbie is good the way she is. No doubts. I’ve learned many things and read about interesting books I’ve probably never read without my interest in this fashion doll. I’ve even learned languages with her help, but I realized it all later. My interest in sewing fashions grew. I started to deal with making patterns for Barbie dresses. The understanding of techniques is what I want. I have many more books that wait for me. Let’s see if I can learn Japanese to get more knowledge. I know that’s crazy, but it’s me.
When you’re looking for suitable books I can recommend you these books:
The Collectible Barbie Doll: An Illustrated Guide to Her Dreamy World, by
Barbie Doll Around the World 1964-2007: Identification & Values by Michael Augustyniak (2007)
The Ultimate Barbie Doll Book by Marcie Mellilo (1996)
Barbie Fashion Vol. I – III by Sarah Sink Eames (1990)
Skipper Barbie doll’s little sister, second edition by Cottingham, Arend and Hemingway (2011)
- The story of Barbie by Kitturah Westenhouser (1994)
- It’s All About the Accessories for the World?s Most Fashionable Dolls 1959-1972 by Hillary Shilkitus James (2017)
And when you’re looking online for information:
- e-book: Barbie® Talks!: An Unauthorized Exposé of the First Talking Barbie® Doll: An Expose’ of the First Talking Barbie Doll. The Humorous and Poignant Adventures of Two Former Mattel Toy Designers (2001)
- https://barbieinthehouse.com/2017 (for Vintage and MOD Barbie dolls)
- http://papusilemele.com/en/ (when you search for information about the latest Barbie collector dolls)
- http://www.sewingandpattern.com/all-barbie-patterns/ ( Source for free patterns)
- https://plus.google.com/photos/115834299775567346266/albums/5279686365593771025 ( free sewing patterns)
- https://www.dollreference.com/barbie_vintage_fashions1959-1963.html ( Page for Vintage Barbie dolls and clothes)
- http://www.fashionave.info/ (Page with all Fashion Avenue fashions from 1990s – 2000s)
Behind the scenes I try to figure out how Vintage Barbie clothes (Vintage era from 1959 – 1966) were made. I’m especially interested the patterns for the fabric. How can I turn a piece of fabric into a piece of clothing. I want to design own clothes in the Vintage style later but at first I have to understand how the patterns are made and the result I get when I follow sewing instructions.
It’s not as easy as you might imagine. I have to deal with many different problems. Especially the body forms of early Barbie dolls seem to be one of my main problems. At first I thought they were all the same size but they aren’t. Although they seem to be the same size they aren’t and that’s a big problem when you don’t know it. Then you can’t adjust the pattern to the body. For example that’s my result when I tried to sew a blouse.
As you can see here the blouse seems to be to tight for the Midge/Bubblecut body I used here. Obviously the breasts are larger than it seems. I haven’t really measured until now but fellow collectors told me that the first Ponytail Barbie bodies are smaller/ the measures are different. That’s very interesting and a good thing to know. By the way it’s no problem that the blouse is to tight. I thought that I might get problems like these. I made it just for reasons of learning.