Former Barbie designer Stacey McBride reveals where the inspiration came for her range of multi-cultural fashion dolls.

DIARY OF AN INVENTOR: Stacey McBride and Prettie Girls

Prettie Girls actually came from a passion project of mine.

I was at Mattel for 15 years and I designed Barbies and Disney Princesses. While I was there, my daughter was six years old and she wasn’t playing with dolls like I expected her to. I realised she didn’t relate to the imagery and look of the dolls and so she wasn’t playing with them.

I created a concept for an African American line of Barbie dolls called So In Style (S.I.S). It was all about positivity, like everything I create. That took off great in the African American community, but as that was growing, I found I had a purpose and that I needed to create dolls and images that look like and reflect what America looks like today. I wanted little girls to see themselves in dolls.

Mattel is a massive corporation. It really took a risk in allowing me to create an African American line. Unfortunately, there weren’t many African American mums in the situation that I was in who could really push the concept any further. Mattel’s main focus was Barbie, so I went solo.

I met my business partner Trent T. Daniel and we had this idea to create a line of dolls called Prettie Dolls. Trent has three girls as well and we felt this is the right time to create these dolls with The One World Dolls Project.

As a little girl, I didn’t have many fashion doll options. I had blonde hair, blue eyed Barbie.

I grew up in the Seventies and in the Eighties, they introduced the African American doll but I really couldn’t relate to it. I was into fashion and into long hair but doll they introduced had an afro. I had baby dolls that looked like me that I was able to nurtue, but there no fashion dolls.

That’s why it’s great that I was able to introduce these dolls that represented my daughter and her friends. Parents are almost more excited than the kids when they see the Prettie Dolls because they know it’s what they didn’t have.

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