Last year, Mattel rolled out a diverse Barbie line with four body types, seven skin tones, and 24 hairstyles. Now, her iconic boyfriend is available in three body types — slim, broad and original — and seven different skin tones. The new Ken dolls join Mattel’s Fashionistas line.
As CNN reports, you can also choose from eight different hair colors, nine hairstyles — including a man bun — and various eye colors. Fashion styles range from athletic wear to business attire.
Consumer interest declined sharply in 2014, and as NPR reports, Mattel has been looking to revive the Barbie business. The brand hopes the new diverse Ken dolls will reverse the sales slump.
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10 new Ken dolls ($9.99) arrive in stores this week with five more launching in the months ahead.
“We are redefining what a Barbie or Ken doll looks like to this generation,” Lisa McKnight, senior vice president and general manager, Barbie, said in a press release.
McKnight says the new Ken, “allows girls to further personalize the role they want him to play in Barbie’s world.”
The Ken doll was introduced by Mattel in 1961 and in the Barbie mythos, the pair met on the set of a TV commercial in 1961. In 2004, Ken “broke up” with Barbie. In 2009, he explored his wild side, with Mattel branding him as “Hottie Ken” during that time. The pair made up in 2011.
Ruth Handler is credited with the creation of the Barbie doll using a German doll called Bild Lilli as her inspiration. She suggested the idea of an adult-bodied doll to her husband Elliot, a co-founder of the Mattel toy company.
The first Barbie doll wore a black and white zebra striped swimsuit and signature topknot ponytail and was available as either a blonde or brunette. She was marketed as a “Teen-age Fashion Model.”
After nearly six decades, Barbie remains a staple for children.
Mattel has sold over a billion Barbie dolls, making it the company’s most profitable line.