Mattel releases new Barbie Extra line at Walmart, Target and Amazon in time for holiday shopping
There’s a little something “extra” about Mattel’s newest line of Barbie dolls.
From rainbow hair to a range of body types, skin tones and fashion, each of the five Barbie Extra dolls has a playful and over-the-top style, Mattel officials shared exclusively with USA TODAY.
In time for the holidays, the new dolls go on sale Monday at Amazon, Target and Walmart with a suggested retail price of $24.99 each.
"When it comes to fashion, Barbie Extra has a 'more is more' attitude, as even their pets are accessorized," Kim Culmone, Mattel senior vice president and global head of Design Barbie & Fashion Dolls, told USA TODAY. "Each doll rocks their own unique style and offers girls an exciting fashion and styling play experience with posable, articulated bodies."
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Culmone said the company looked at several sources for design inspiration including street style, fashion runways and culture.
"Barbie is at her best when she connects to culture and Barbie Extra does just that from the name, down to every detail and accessory," Culmone said. "The dolls are fun and playful, letting kids dial up their self-expression and fashion fantasy play by showing them you can be a trendsetter at every age."
Barbie has been criticized by some for promoting a narrow, unrealistic ideal of what is beautiful. But the brand has been on a diversity push over the last five years, unveiling dolls with an array of skin tones, hair textures, body sizes and facial structures.
In early 2020, Mattel announced additions to its Barbie Fashionistas line to make sure the dolls reflect more of society's diversity.
Shoppers have welcomed the inclusiveness. Barbie's top seller throughout 2019 was a curvy black doll with an Afro. Seven of the 10 top-selling Fashionistas last year were diverse including a doll that uses a wheelchair.
Calling Barbie the "most diverse fashion doll line on the market," Culmone said with Barbie Extra as in other lines "it was important to us to include a wide range of diversity so every child can find a doll that resonates with them."
An 18-month-long neuroscience study from Cardiff University and Barbie found playing with dolls can help kids develop empathy and social processing skills. The results of the study were released in October.
"We’ve always known there are many benefits to doll play, but this is the first time we’ve had neuroscientific data to remind parents of the benefits," Culmone said. "As we continue to inspire the limitless potential in every child, we are proud to offer dolls that encourage social informational processing and empathy skills we know are highly valued by parents."
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Contributing: Charisse Jones, USA TODAY
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko