Inside Barbie's Collaboration To Celebrate Black Beauty

Stylist Shiona Turini’s history with Barbie is similar to everyone else’s: store shelves full of dolls with different hair colors – black, blonde, brunette, red, etc. – but the options weren’t as plentiful when it came to skin color. In 1980 though, Turini was relieved to see a black Barbie with an afro donning a fire red dress. Now the former fashion editor and costume designer is making her own Barbie history by collaborating with Barbie Style to creating a collection full of diverse black dolls in honor of Black History Month.

Turini’s goal was to challenge traditional uniformity. She took inspiration from the first black Barbie in an all-red look. Her vision was to style these diverse dolls with themes she sees in her own work. The four-pronged collection shows the versatility of black beauty, featuring 10 models of different skin tones and sizes which also includes a doll in a wheelchair. The color palette for the wardrobe ranges from soft sherbert colors and all black to browns with snakeskin and all red (inspired by the first black Barbie).

Turini is proud to be able to reflect herself and other young children and adults Barbie lovers in this collection. She thanked Barbie Style for allowing her the opportunity for the collaboration of diversity.

“Thank you @barbiestyle for collaborating with me to create barbies with braids, finger waves and everything in between. Chicks by the layers, all different flavors. And even a curvy doll, in a crop top, with waist-length twists. Baby Shiona is PROUD. Representation matters and I’m so grateful to be a part of this moment.”