Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Lammily Doll

Lammily is a unique new fashion doll who was released at the end of December.  The mainstream media is very interested in this doll, and has been since her conception in early 2013.  In fact, I didn't learn about Lammily through the usual doll collecting channels, but rather from my brother-in-law, who saw an article about her in The Atlantic last May.

Lammily was designed by graphic artist Nickolay Lamm, and the reason that she has captured such widespread attention is that she was designed to have the body proportions of a typical American teenager.  Unlike Barbie (and most other 12-inch fashion dolls) Lammily does not have an impossibly tiny waist, large chest, oversized head or spindly legs.  Mr. Lamm used body measurements published by the Center for Disease Control to ensure that his doll would not only be realistic...but would be average.  The word "average" does not tend to conjure visions of loveliness, but Mr. Lamm challenged this preconception and branded his doll with the inspiring logo, "Average is Beautiful."

I pre-ordered two Lammily dolls immediately after reading the article in The Atlantic (the dolls are $25 each).  This is exactly the kind of crowd-funded, vision-driven project that I love to see in the doll world.  I was inherently enthusiastic about the Lammily concept, but an email I received from Nickolay Lamm last May added to my excitement.  Mr. Lamm wrote seeking some advice about the doll's articulation--and you guys can probably guess that I, uh, had a fair amount to say on that subject.  Conversations back and forth with Mr. Lamm over the past few months have given me a fascinating glimpse into the creative process behind this unique new doll.  I have been on pins and needles to see how all of Mr. Lamm's ideas came together in the debut doll, and am beyond excited to share my initial impressions with all of you:

The Lammily Doll
The Lammily doll makes her entrance.
Mr. Lamm's original intent was not to produce a ground-breaking fashion doll.  A talented artist and researcher, he was simply using his graphic design skills to explore the idea of what a fashion doll would look like if she had realistic proportions.  The initial images of the resulting "normal Barbie" circulated online and generated a lot of discussion and enthusiasm.

Below are pictures showing two steps in the artistic process of graphically rendering this realistic version of Barbie:

Photo credit: N. Lamm, used with permission.

Here's the second photo a little larger so you can see the details:

Photo credit: N. Lamm, used with permission.
The popularity of images like the one above, and requests for the image to be made into a real doll, prompted Mr. Lamm to start a Tilt (previously Crowdtilt) crowdfunding project to see if there was enough support to make his "normal Barbie" a reality.  The project almost instantly generated the financial support it needed, reaching a $95,000 goal in one day.

The Lammily company's backstory is fascinating, and I encourage you to read all of the details over on the official website.  For now, though, let's take a look at the actual doll.

My Lammily doll arrived in a brown shipping box:

I was particularly anxious to see the doll box inside of that brown shipper.  At one point during my conversations with Mr. Lamm, he was wondering how to make the inner doll box look more exciting.  He sent me this picture of a plain box:

What to do with this??
I thought the box, above, looked like a Tonner shipping box, and was concerned that any graphic design printed on the cardboard would appear grainy and unprofessional.  I needn't have worried.  Just look at how the box turned out:

The cardboard that was used is actually very smooth, and the images are high-definition and beautiful.  The doll and her suitcase are printed on a glossy area to give them even more luster.  This is among the most attractive doll packaging I have ever seen.  It reminds me of the colorful Lottie boxes, but it has a more sophisticated, realistic style of art:

The Lammily box

The Lammily character herself looks serene and lovely--like someone I would want as a friend.  She is carrying a large suitcase with several stickers that suggest she is fond of travel:

The stickers represent locations in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, France and the United States.  Granted, there's not a lot of room for stickers on this suitcase, but the destinations are decidedly western.  What about India, China or South Africa?  Maybe those stickers are on the other side of the suitcase.

In any case, the entire box is covered with colorful, watercolor-style decorations.  It is truly a joy to look at, and something I will save as a part of what makes this doll special:

The back of the box has the names of individuals singled out for special recognition--probably the initial donors:

The front panel of the box is secured with a small tab, and this opens to reveal another inner panel that folds out in the opposite direction.  The inner panel displays a removable leaflet:

The leaflet has greetings in several languages (not all western this time...) and hints at an epic journey that has brought Lammily to her final destination:

Perhaps the most extensive conversation I had with Mr. Lamm (other than the one concerning articulation) was over the backstory of this doll.  This was really fascinating to me because while I certainly turn a critical eye to a lot of lame backstories (the over-used magical high school, for example...) I have never spent much time trying to dream up an ideal backstory for a specific doll.   

Mr. Lamm had some fun ideas that I thought steered the doll towards a very young audience, and I had an overly complex idea that would have given her a more international, adventuresome personality.  In the end, Lammily is presented as a friendly young traveler who has experienced some wonderful adventures along the journey to her new home (in this case, Maine):

I like this theme because it doesn't pigeonhole the character into a specific personality, but it presents her as independent, outgoing and worldly...and it sets her up to have some fun international outfits and accessories in the future.  It also gives a nod of recognition to the Lammily backers all over the world.

At the back of the pamphlet there's a short explanation of Lammily's story, and some steps for what what can be done next with the doll:

For example, there's a link to the online store, where lots of nice-looking outfits are already available for pre-order.  Here's a preview of one of my favorite outfits:

Photo property of N. Lamm, used with permission.
There's also a link to the page where the doll can be named.  I had been assuming that the doll's name was actually Lammily, but it turns out that this is just the name of the company--"Lamm" mixed with the word "family."  I get to pick my own name for this doll, and can even make her a passport with that name using a tool on the Lammily website.

I searched for female names that are popular in many different countries and came up with choices like Sophia, Mary, Olivia, Mia...and Emily.  I think I'll go with the name Mia for my Lammily doll:

I really like the art on the Lammily leaflet...with the exception of this drawing:

Something about this particular image makes the character look too old...and really skinny.  I like her best in this picture:

She's an animal lover!
Petting the (docile) Australian sheep, she looks kind, eager and youthful. 

As much as I was enjoying this gorgeous box, I was excited to see Mia herself.  Here's one last look at the inner flap of the box, though:

What will she look like??
And here is my first glimpse of Mia!

Ta da!
She was attached to a cardboard backdrop that is as intricately decorated as the rest of the box:

Mia was held in place with two wire ties (one around her ankles and one around her chest). 

The cardboard backdrop can be removed from the main box, which allows easy access for un-twisting the wire ties.  

In addition to the two wire ties, Mia was also anchored by two small plastic ties attached to the plastic strip in her hair.  Ugh.

I was bummed out to see the plastic strip in Mia's hair.  Mr. Lamm actually asked me about all of the different ways that doll hair could be secured for packaging, and this is exactly what I said in reply:

I can think of the following (kind-of ordered by preference):
-Hair net (over the whole head and the hair)
-Band of clear plastic around the head (like Lottie or Licca-chan dolls)
-Clear rubber bands holding the hair to the doll's waist or arms
-Thread or rubber bands holding the hair against a plastic or cardboard backing
-Plastic bag (meh)
-The hair stitched onto plastic strips (please don't use this!)

To be fair, though, this strip was probably the most economical choice (hairnets would be crazy-expensive).  I have to keep reminding myself that the Lammily doll only costs $25.  Many things about her (like the box and presentation) make her seem like a much more expensive doll.  Also, the plastic strip wasn't actually that hard to remove.

Here's Mia out of her box:

She's remarkably similar to the early prototype pictures, and my first impression was that she looks very friendly and sweet.

I bought two Lammily dolls, and actually de-boxed both of them for this review.  I thought it would be interesting to see what (if any) variability there was between dolls.  Here are my two Mias side-by-side:

They are very similar, but I did notice some interesting differences.  First of all (and most important to me) the doll on the left, above, can't stand up as well as the doll on the right.  Also, the doll on the left has a side part while the doll on the right's hair is more centrally parted.  Last, the doll on the left has a minor defect in her shirt that I'll show you later.

Mia has a very satisfying weight to her body.  She is more substantial than most other play dolls in this scale--another feature that makes her seem more expensive than she is.  Her legs are not rubbery and bendy at all, which contributes to her solid, stable presence.  These qualities made me assume that Mia would be able to stand nicely on her own, but unfortunately her thin, wobbly ankles make balancing her in anything other than a straight stance a tricky proposition.

One of my two dolls needed a lot of help balancing, so I set out to find an appropriate stand for her.  The Kaiser stands I use for most of my 12-inch dolls don't fit Mia's torso the right way, though:

This stand has a 4.5 inch base.
I can maneuver the waist grip of this stand to get Mia on her feet, but the top of her body is pulled backwards.  Likewise, if I straighten her torso, she yanks the base of the stand up off the ground:

Since all of the other stands I have for my 12-inch fashion dolls have skinnier waist grips than the Kaiser stand, I didn't even try to get those to work:

Ever After High stand, Bratzillaz stand, Pullip/Hestia stand, Kaiser stand.
The next size up in the Kaiser stand collection would probably work for Mia, but I don't have any of those in my house.

The saddle-style stands that fit Mia's body are too tall:

Flying Lammily on a Poppy Parker stand.
I eventually found a great solution with this Hot Toys action figure stand:

You can find these on eBay for about $8 each by searching "Hot Toys action figure stand."

This stand grips the doll at the top of her legs and is the perfect height for Mia:

It doesn't mess up her clothes, either.
In the future, it would be great if Lammily dolls would come with their own stands...or have ankles that allow them to balance more reliably.

Now that she's balanced, let's take a closer look at Mia's face:

Lammily doll

Again, the faces of my two dolls are virtually identical, but I find the one on the left, below, slightly more attractive.  It could be subtle differences in her face paint, or just the effect of the pronounced side part in her hair: 

Here's one of the faces up close:

Mia has concave printed eyes with no molded detail.  This design catches a lot of glare in my photography and is seen most clearly from the side:

Mia's eyes have a ring of light brown around an inner layer of olive green.  These colors combine to make a pretty hazel color (the average of all eye colors?).  The shape of the eyes is realistic and there's nicely-drawn eyelash detail at the edges.  Mia has a small eyelid line, but no eye makeup of any kind...which I find refreshing.  Her eyebrows are light brown and do not have any hair lines:

Lammily doll

Mia's mouth is broad and friendly with a soft smile.  Her lips are painted with a translucent, slightly glossy natural rosy-peach color:

In the close-up, above, you can see faint speckles in the vinyl of this doll's face.  I was surprised to see these because they are not visible at all from a distance.  Unlike the knockoff Frozen dolls I reviewed a while back, the grainy texture of this vinyl is not at all apparent to the naked eye, and does not interfere with the smooth print of the eyes or eyebrows.

Mia's left and right profile are very similar--if not identical:

I really like how she looks in half-profile--I think it accentuates her smile:

...and is perfect for bringing our her animal-loving personality:

With a Lalaloopsy butterfly.
Mia has long straight brown hair with golden highlights:

I think it looks very natural and beautiful on her:

Lammily doll

The hair is layered in the back to give it a soft, rounded shape.  It could use a few trims here and there, but nothing major:

The hair fiber is very silky and smooth--right down to the tips.  It is densely rooted all over the scalp, to the point where it was tricky to expose any bare scalp for this photograph:

The hair's density makes for a very hefty high ponytail:

I think a slightly lower ponytail is more flattering:

The hair is also quite thick for a single braid:

...but the smooth hair fiber makes smaller braids easy to do.  This hair has a lot of body, and smaller braids can stick out a bit at first:

No trick photography here--promise!
But the hair is also easy to tame.  I could get that braid to relax by just pulling it down...

...and then could get it to lay flat by just clipping it to the rest of the hair for a few minutes. 

When I took that small braid out, there were a lot of crimps left in the hair--even though I only left the braid in place for about an hour.  On the other hand, the crimps completely disappeared after smoothing the hair back into a plain ponytail for another hour.  I really like how this hair can hold its position so well, and yet remains malleable to quick changes.  It's absolutely fantastic hair for a 12-inch doll.

Mia came wearing a collared blue ombre camp shirt and a pair of jean shorts.  As I mentioned, one of my dolls has a shirt with a small defect--notice the uneven chest pockets on this shirt:

Wonky pockets.
Here's the better version:

The shirt has a folded, lined collar and light decorative stitching all around the edges.  The glued-on silver buttons are nicely in scale with the doll.  Each side of the shirt has a small pocket flap with its own silver button. These pockets do not open, but the flaps lift up.  The sleeves of the shirt are rolled up and stitched into place in this position:

The actual closure of the shirt is from two chunky strips of velcro:

Thank goodness those don't usually show.
The fabric of the shirt is lightweight, but the construction looks excellent:

Mia's jean shorts coordinate with the shirt through their light-colored stitching and silver button details:

These shorts fit Mia very well and are quite flattering.

As with the shirt, the actual fly closure on these shorts is a strip of velcro.  This velcro is much more subtle than the white strips on the shirt, though:

The front and back pockets on these shorts actually open and can hold tiny items (or Mia's hands).

Mia's vinyl legs make it slightly tricky to pull the shorts on, but that's not such a big deal.  What I find more frustrating is that Mia can't sit (on the ground or in a chair) without popping the velcro of the shorts and inelegantly revealing quite a detailed view of her molded underpants (in the front and in the back):

Mia is wearing white vinyl sneakers with painted orange laces.  The shape of the shoes is actually more like a loafer, but the painted laces make me think of a sneaker:

Mia has very thin pegged ankle joints.  It's easy to pull her whole foot off while trying to remove the shoe.  To avoid an unwanted foot extraction, simply grab the back of the doll's heel (not the ankle) before you pull off the shoe.  If the foot does come off, it's very easy to snap it back into place.  I'd just be wary about taking the feet off too many times for fear that the connection would weaken over time--as it does with Monster High dolls.

The most anticipated feature of the Lammily doll is her natural body type.  Let's see how it came out:

I think Mia has a beautiful body profile.  She's not at all overweight, nor is she too thin.  She has nice, modest curves accenting a slightly athletic build:

The doll also looks good from the front, but from this angle I feel like there's something not quite right in her hip region:

It could just be that I am used to looking at ultra-skinny fashion dolls, but it also seems like the torso is too long--especially the distance from belly button to crotch.  Maybe it's just something odd about the contour of where Mia's leg joints meet her body?

She also has no visible hips from the front--the shape in this area strikes me as childlike or even masculine.  This could very well be representative of the norm, but I also wonder if the average measurements aren't necessarily something you'd actually see in one body.

Mia has molded skin-colored underwear and a small printed copyright on the small of her back:

The Lammily body has an impressive thirteen points of articulation.  Mia has neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee and ankle joints. 

She can tilt her head from side-to-side:

Up and down:

And can also look all of the way around:

Mia has excellent neck articulation. The tilting movement of her head is especially great and adds a lot to her expressiveness.

The shoulder joints are large, sturdy rotating hinges with a great range of motion:

Mia's torso is made out of hollow hard plastic, but her arms are made out of bendable solid vinyl with an internal jointing structure.  This style of joint is so uncommon in doll elbows that at first I assumed Mia didn't have elbow joints at all. The arms don't feel floppy, though--their internal mechanism makes them quite solid and firm.  

Each elbow can click into three positions.  I think there is meant to be a fourth (more bent) position, but I can't get this one to stay in place.

Mia has hinged peg wrist joints.  These are very delicate and thin, so I feel nervous when I am bending them.  I don't think the wrist circumference is based on an average woman.  That would be a really skinny wrist.


The hands do have a great range of motion, though:

I also think that Mia has an unusually attractive hand sculpture.  She has long slender fingers with very realistic contours.  No sausage fingers here:

I think there is very, very subtle fingernail detail on these hands, but it's hard to see--both in photographs and in real life.

While I was posing Mia later in the review, one of her hands popped off unexpectedly.  It's easy to get the hand back on, but I hope these connections don't weaken over time.

Here are some of Mia's possible arm poses:

The Lammily body has very large rotating hip joints.  There is no lateral movement in the hips at all, which is disappointing.  Mia can not do much in the way of side-to-side splits:

...and the angle of her legs can not be widened--regardless of her leg position:

But she can do very nice front-to-back splits:

I tried to investigate the structure of the hip joints by pulling the leg away from the body.  The top of the leg has a wide circular insertion point, but the actual attachment of the leg to the torso is a much more substantial rotating bar with a cylindrical connection into the leg.

Mia also has internal knee joints.  During my lengthy conversations with Mr. Lamm about articulation, I expressed my lack of enthusiasm for internal knee joints.  My experience with the new Disney Store Merida doll certainly hasn't helped my opinion of this style of joint.  However, Mr. Lamm was concerned that the prototype images of the Lammily doll showed seamless knee joints, and we could not think of a way to add hinged knees while living up to this smooth-legged image of the doll. 

Mia's legs are made out of soft vinyl but--like the arms--their internal structure makes them very solid through about mid-calf level.  From the middle of the calf down to the ankle, the vinyl has a bit more bend.  The legs as a whole are not at all floppy or rubbery.  The apparent bulk of the internal structure makes me feel optimistic about joint durability.   These joints do not feel fragile.

At first, I could only get Mia's knees to bend through one click.  This was a huge disappointment, especially since Mr. Lamm had mentioned that the joints would be capable of four different positions.

Not good.
This limited flexibility was a bit of a travesty for chair-sitting poses--especially when combined with the restrictive hip joints:

Ooof.  She and Cinderella should get together...
However, after bending and unbending each knee several times, the joints loosened up and now allow two additional angles of bend:

This makes chair-sitting much more graceful:

Mia has hinged, peg-inserted ankle joints that allow her feet to flex and point nicely:

She has a great foot shape, with all of the toes distinctly outlined:

As with the wrists, the ankle joint pegs are very tiny and thin.  The size of this peg and the degree of the flexibility in the vinyl at the ankle are what make this doll so unstable on her feet.  If the peg of the foot was thicker, or if it could somehow insert into the rigid internal structure of the leg, I bet this doll's balance would be dramatically improved.

That's a ridiculously small peg for this doll's weight.
Here is Mia showing off a few of her poses--most of which she could not maintain without help.  In these first two pictures, I got the shot just as she was falling down:

In these next three pictures (try as I might) I could not get Mia to stand without the help of a finger hold:

Mia can balance in several poses if she's not standing on her feet, though:

One last thing that I would like to point out about the Lammily body is that the color and finish of the vinyl arms and legs match the hollow plastic torso extremely well.  Without touching her, I would have found it very difficult to tell that these components of Mia's body were made out of different materials.  That's impressive to me--and fairly rare.

The more time I spend with Mia, the more I get used to her proportions.  However, if I look at her with a crowd of other 12-inch play dolls, the differences pop out again:

She's not average in this crowd.
First, let's look at Mia next to Barbie--the doll who inspired her conception:

Lammily and Barbie
Barbie Basic, Lammily, articulated Style Barbie.
The body type differences are striking.  It's funny because I figured the torso and waist region would be the focus of my initial comparison, but I am actually struck more by the legs.  Barbie's legs look so long and spindly compared to Mia's...and the Barbie feet are miniscule!

The skin tone differences also jumped out at me right away.  Mia and the Basic Barbie look very natural next to the Style Barbie's pink, plastic-y complexion.

Here are the dolls from the side:

Lammily and Barbie

This is the view where the upper body differences stand out to me.  The Barbie Basic doll, in particular, is insanely thin throughout the entire length of her torso.  And again, the length and straightness of those Barbie legs is hard to ignore.

And here are the girls from the back:

Again, I wouldn't mind it if Mia had more in the way of hips.  It could be that adding width here wouldn't look right when she's clothed?  I'm not sure.  She does look more shapely when she's dressed.

Here's Mia with just the Style Barbie, since these two have more similarities in their articulation:

Lammily and Barbie

I noticed a few new things while looking at this comparison.  First of all, Mia's neck is much shorter and thicker than Barbie's.  Maybe it's a tiny bit too short.  Also, I really want to hike up Mia's crotch area a bit--like pulling up pants that are slipping down.  Last, look at how tiny Barbie's hands are compared to Mia's!

Lammily and Barbie

Lammily and Barbie

Mia's arms seem a little on the short side to me.  For example, she can't lean back on her hands while she's sitting on the ground unless she's leaning pretty far back...or balancing on her fingertips.

Lammily and Barbie

Also, it's hard to beat the relaxed, sanguine appearance of Barbie lounging in the photo, above.  I wish Mia's articulation allowed her to look a little more at home in her body--if only because it would contribute to the confident image of this beautiful, average-sized girl.

Here are the two dolls' faces side-by-side (sorry, I cut Barbie's hair while trying to extract her sunglasses...):

The eyebrows are similar, but the other facial features are exaggerated on Barbie and more modest on Mia.  In particular, I notice Barbie's bright lipstick and her thick, double eyelashes (applied and painted).  The contrasting neck styles are also easy to see from this angle. 

If the differences between Mia and Barbie seem glaring, take a look at Mia next to my very skinniest dolls:

Winx Club Bloom, Ever After High Apple, Lammily, Monster High Clawdeen, Integrity ITBE.
Now, granted, some of these dolls aren't even remotely trying to be realistic, but still.

Winx Club Bloom, Ever After High Apple, Lammily, Monster High Clawdeen, Integrity ITBE.
The Monster High body falls into the category of not even trying to be realistic, but I still find this particular body contrast fascinating:

Lammily and Monster High
Clawdeen looks like a pencil!

Now, here's Mia alongside a few dolls that I have always thought of as having fairly normal, natural proportions when compared to the typical fashion doll: Bandai's Dorothy and Spin Master's Liv doll, Hayden:

Among my personal collection of 12-inch play dolls, I think Dorothy's proportions are the most similar to those of the Lammily doll.  Dorothy holds her own pretty well standing next to Mia.  The Liv body was a bit of a surprise to me, though.  Hayden's straight, slender limbs and tiny hip region stand out pretty glaringly here:

Before the Lammily doll was released, I was thinking of her as a kind-of hybrid between fashion dolls and action figures.  This notion came from the idea that action figures have more realistic, muscular body styles than the typical fashion doll.  I forgot, though, that action figures also tend to have some areas that are, um, slightly exaggerated:

This Otaku doll has no less of a fantasy physique than Barbie--it's just a different kind of fantasy.

The Otaku arms, hands, legs and feet are fairly similar to those on the Lammily body, but the Otaku torso shape is entirely different--with an underplayed waist and overplayed chest.

The thing about the Otaku body that I really admire, though, is that it can stand beautifully on its own in all sorts of action poses.  Mia has to lean up against the Otaku doll in order to maintain her position...something I'm not sure the Otaku girl appreciates:

Despite their dramatically different proportions, Mia can actually wear this dress that I bought for my Otaku doll:

I like how Mia looks in this slightly sexy, elegant dress.  It brings out another side of her personality--and makes me even more anxious to find more clothing options for her:

As I looked over my various sizes of fashion doll, I was surprised to learn that even the 14 and 16-inch dolls like Moxie Teenz and Tonner's Penelope Brewster are skinnier than Mia:

In fact, clothes sharing between Mia and these taller dolls is unreliable not so much because of the 4-inch difference in height...but because the taller dolls actually have narrower shoulders and slimmer waists than Mia!

For example, this Deja Vu shirt is a little long on Mia:

Lammily wearing Deja Vu top.
But the bigger problem is that the snaps are strained in back, leaving gaps and wrinkles:

Most Moxie Teenz tops are way too tight for Mia also:

Lammily trying to wear Moxie Teenz top.
However, I happened to find one loose-fitting style in this line that suits Mia really well:

This Tonner City Girls top also makes a decent dress on Mia--although this is a random fluke.  Most of the clothing from the City Girls collection is too big in scale for the Lammily body.

To find a Tonner doll with similar body measurements to Mia, I had to turn to the child dolls like this older Alice in Wonderland (she has the Marley body):

Lammily, Tonner's Alice in Wonderland.
These two can't share many clothes, though--both because the styles would be inappropriate and because Mia's hips are wider than Alice's.

*Update (12/10): here are a few pictures of Mia with one of my Lottie dolls, per Lucy's request.

I was hoping that I would be able to find more clothing options for Mia--to show her off in several different ways, but I suppose a natural side effect of having a uniquely-sized fashion doll is that it's hard to find other doll clothing that will fit her.  For this reason, it was incredibly wise for the Lammily company to start focusing on outfit sets so quickly.  

Fortunately, I really like the original Lammily outfit.  It is casual and attractive and highlights the friendly, approachable nature of this character.  Here are a few more shots of Mia in her own clothes:

And here are a few shots of Mia wearing the Moxie Teenz top that I find gives her a slightly softer look.  This is actually my favorite outfit for Mia:

I have an odd assortment of toy animals in my house, but Mia has already managed to find most of them...and make several fast friends:

Mia with a Calico Critter.
Mia with a Pinkie Cooper Jet Set Pet (left) and with a Unicorno (right).

*Update (12/10): for Ann, here's Mia on the Liv horse.  Breyer and Paradise horses are too small for her.  She rides fairly well--her legs sit a bit forward of the saddle and so her feet can't fit into these particular stirrups, but I think she looks like she knows what she's doing!

Because Mia had such a grand, international adventure on her way here to Maine, I wanted to be sure that she saw some of the best parts of her new home right away.  I figured I should take her to see the water, and also to get a glimpse of Portland--Maine's largest city.

I took her to Back Cove, a small bay flanking the outskirts of Portland.

Mia loved the beach--especially all of the gulls, ducks and cormorants that were resting on rocks in the water.  She immediately wanted to climb the nearest cliff so that she could sit and watch the birds.

After a few minutes of rapt bird-watching, Mia caught sight of the city's skyline and wanted to go get a closer look:

(The sand was great for helping Mia balance!)

Backlit with the dramatic winter light, I think Portland made a pretty good first impression on this world-traveler.

Mia found a sun-bathed tree trunk where she could sit and take in all of the sights.

On the way back to our car, Mia found an old brick bridge that she wanted to investigate.

I think she's a little afraid of heights, because she clung to the walls of the bridge pretty cautiously....

But eventually she got up the nerve to peek over the edge of the bridge and inspect the ice-covered landscape below:

As the sun faded, Mia insisted that she pose on this modern steel bench that faces back out towards the city:

Bottom Line?  I often find myself wishing that the Lammily doll wasn't getting so much media attention for her body proportions--or for being the "anti-Barbie."  Granted, I'm kind-of in the mood for an anti-Barbie after Mattel's recent epic fail with their computer programming book, but that's another story.  With so much emphasis on Lammily's body type, she's at risk for being more of an agenda than a plaything.  She's a victory for feminism!  She's the antidote to poor body image!  Or from a negative standpoint, She's the "fat" doll!  To me, she's none of those things--least of all overweight.  When all of the hype fades away, I hope Lammily enjoys staying power for simply being a lovely, personable, well-made doll...who just happens to have the measurements of a normal teenager.

She's not a perfect doll yet, though.  My biggest issue with Lammily is that she can't balance on her own in anything but a perfectly upright pose.  For a doll with sturdy limbs and solid construction, she should be able to stand like a champ.  However, her pin-like ankle joints negate the stability of the rest of her frame.  This seems like a fixable problem that I hope is addressed in future editions.  The doll also has super-thin wrist joints with hands that can fall off.  Another thing is that while Lammily's internal elbow and knee joints seem more flexible and durable than other joints of this style I've seen, her simple, chunky hip joints hold her back.  She doesn't have the graceful, natural movement that thirteen points of articulation should provide--and this is almost exclusively because of her hips.  My last notable criticism of Lammily concerns the shape of her lower torso.  There's something odd about the dimensions in this region...and the girl has virtually no hips.  However, when Lammily is fully clothed, her proportions look spot-on.

The good things about the Lammily doll vastly outnumber the bad.  First of all, her box is a gorgeous work of art.  It's made completely out of recyclable cardboard, but I can't see myself ever throwing it away.  The presentation of this doll rivals some of the most expensive collectibles I own.  Also, Lammily comes with an illustrated backstory that sets her up as a friendly, independent world traveler while leaving the specific details of her personality up to each new owner.  Finally, the doll herself is much higher quality than her $25 price would suggest.  She has thick, silky-smooth, realistic hair that is easy to work with and feels amazing.  Her facial features are mild and unadorned--giving her a sweet, versatile appearance that will appeal to a broad audience.  Her clothing is well-made, practical and reasonably flattering (her shoes are underwhelming, though).  Her body design has very few flaws, especially given that it is completely original.  The body feels solid and satisfying in my hands and the articulation is superior to many other 12-inch fashion dolls (certainly better than the unarticulated Barbie Fashionista bodies).  With a couple of critical tweaks, the articulation could be fantastic.  

The Lammily doll came into being because there was significant public enthusiasm for a fashion doll with average proportions.  This admirable goal could have been achieved in a number of different ways--and might easily have produced a hastily-made, gimmicky product.  Nickolay Lamm managed to use the idea of realistic body proportions as a starting point for creating a doll that is special in a number of different ways.  I happen to know first hand about some of the thoughtful, heartfelt decision-making that went into the design and production of this doll, and I suspect that anyone who buys her will be able to see the the evidence of this, too.  The end result is a charming character with a very distinct look.  Lammily is unlike anything else that is on the market right now, and yet she manages to feel almost instantly familiar.  

Despite my fondness for the Lammily concept and company, I didn't hold back my criticisms here at all.  I guess I don't know how to write a review any other way.  What's amazing to me, though, is that I can cast the same critical eye on this doll as I would on a doll made by a multi-million (or billion) dollar company...and she can still come out shining.  What Mattel, MGA and Jakks Pacific do regularly and professionally, Nickolay Lamm did from scratch for the first time--and in most ways, he did it better.  And he did something new: the Lammily doll might have body proportions that represent an average woman, but her shape is far from typical in the fashion doll world.  The Lammily slogan "Average is Beautiful" comes to my mind again, but now I have a different reaction to these words.  While I find my Mia to be quite beautiful, there's very little about her that is average.
She is extraordinary.


  1. I personally don't support the agenda that Lammily is operating behind, the one where ''feminists'' ostrasize women that dress provocatively, or the motivation behind her design- that Lamm finds women like Barbie to be intimidating, or her ''I'm not barbie'' selling point but I can certainly commend Lamm on how well done her design is!

    Her hair looks lovely and the outfits look well made! I preferred the more pronounced smile and brown eyes of her protos but I like that her hair is much longer! te clothes mostly look a little dated but I love the outfit you pictured!

    Lovely review, Em! And thanks for the awesome comparisons for me on FB!

    1. I think it should be pointed out that no one grows up to Barbie.

      I don't think that basing a doll on the average 19 year old girl means that a girl smaller or larger then that is any less beautiful. I look forward to Lammily coming in different sizes, races, and genders.

    2. Hm. I didn't get a sense from Mr. Lamm that there was a huge agenda behind this project--beyond the desire to make a realistic doll that kids might connect with. I suspect the media has turned Lammily into more of an anti-Barbie than Mr. Lamm himself--it makes for an interesting, inflammatory story. If anything, I sensed humble respect for Barbie and Mattel in Mr. Lamm's conversations with me.

      There's always been discussion about Barbie's unrealistic proportions (she's a fantasy doll--that's the intent) and Mr. Lamm was just exploring an alternate version of Barbie that did not have these proportions. As a scientist, I appreciate his experiment, and I am amazed by how he could actually turn the ideas into a real doll. Not an easy process!!

      I am glad you brought this up, though, Connor, and I appreciate that you can see the good things about the doll despite having trouble with the basic idea.

      I will hunt more for my Lorifina today--promise! It's been a little busy around here. ;) I hope you like your Poppy! She's a gem.

    3. The way Lamm is handling the doll's purpose compared to what she should be- a cool doll with realistic proportions, just like the other lines that have tried to accomplish (there's a lot, too!) without trashing on Barbie and girls that dress similar, are certainly the reason I get a bad taste about Lamm

      Also the quote can be found on this article:

      ''If Barbie were a real woman, she'd be intimidating and cold''

      That's a rather far fetched statement to me- Barbie has never been cold as a personality and her main slogan is to ''be what you want to be'' and ''Anything is possible''- slogans that are empowering and accepting.

      Whereas Lamm insists that Barbie and other brands tell you to be a certain way, they never outwardly say it and Mattel strives to keep Barbie away from that. In contrast Lammily makes a point of saying ''This is how you should be'' and he has stated that girls should not be as imaginative with their toys and instead be mostly realistic, which is not the point of toys.

      Personally this doll line fails to show acceptance of people that are different, and instead marginalizes women that enjoy wearing provocative clothing and wear makeup. I much prefer the Lottie line, who supports mixed gender roles and being a kid. They even made the boy doll compatible with the girl body to share clothing!

      Aw, thanks Emily! I actually decided to blow my first paycheck on something more expensive than Poppy- I'll have my first BJD within the next month! Woohoo! But those comparisons would still be great because Poppy is still on my list.

    4. Excuse me if I'm posting this a bit late, but I just wanted say that I think you're making some excellent points. As much as I love the idea behind this—a proportionate fashion doll—I think it could've been executed much better. Why couldn't Lammily have exciting and original clothes? Why couldn't she be nice and sweet and approachable and also accomplishing great things? I personally think that if Lammily had a similar approach to Barbie's "you can do anything" attitude, and if it had shown her becoming confident AND well-traveled AND adventurous AND active in the world she is living in, she could have been even greater. Yes, average is beatific, but average girls can do extraordinary things, and I'm not getting that from her.
      *Just as a side note, I think that her face falls a little flat—literally. Her sculpt, especially the concave eyes, give her an almost vacant expression. Her face isn't conveying her adventurous personality to me. She doesn't need makeup to do that, but I think she just needs a little more *oomph*.

    5. I like the idea of a doll with more realistic proportions alongside the impossibly-skinny fashion dolls out there. Kids deserve variety, and Lammily can help to prevent the feeling of "I must be too fat because I don't look like my Barbies" that some girls can develop. The antidote to that is VARIETY, so kids are seeing more than just "super-thin waist, large bust, large hips" as acceptable options.

      It's not about not having Barbies, to me. It's about having something more realistically-proportioned alongside Barbie, so kids don't lose sight of what body types can be real and which ones are entirely fantasy. This is also why I love seeing dolls of color--from Hearts4Hearts's Nahji to Barbie's So In Style to American Girls' Kaya. Every child deserves to feel beautiful--to feel like they aren't abnormal and ugly because of their build, or their skin tone, or because they come from a very different culture than the typical Western one. This is especially important here in the US, where white folks like me are set to become the minority within a few decades--if MOST children end up thinking "I'm not pretty because pretty girls are both white and super-skinny," then that is a deep tragedy.

      As a feminist, I think kids need different sizes of doll available, as a subtle reminder that PEOPLE come in lots of different shapes and sizes, and that all of them are beautiful. (I do hope that Lammily gets some outfit choices that "pop" more, though--her signature outfit is cute but a bit bland.)

      What I DON'T like about Lammily is that the main thing that's been publicized about her is her build. She's "the fat doll," or "the average, boring doll." She should be presented as another choice in dolls, not as a body size. Doll companies just don't do that--for example, Ever After High dolls have wider hips than their Monster High counterparts (as you can see in the comparison images in this very post), but it's not advertised by Mattel as a selling point. You can't even tell the difference in hip size when the dolls are dressed! Lammily's build should be treated as just ONE aspect of what makes her unique, not the be-all and end-all of her character the way the media tends to do.

      Anyway, that's my perspective. :) I understand if you see things differently--Lammily's created quite a bit of controversy, after all.

    6. "Why couldn't she be nice and sweet and approachable and also accomplishing great things?" says Emily, above.

      Well I'm tired of being told that women have to be nice and sweet and approachable. Many of us don't want to be sweet, or even nice or approachable. We just want to be ourselves, and sure, be decent to others. But those words are way too loaded with centuries of expectation about what women SHOULD be.

      I like how little personality this doll has. I think it's great that she's presented with a minimal amount of qualities, and we can fill in the rest depending on what WE feel. She's a lovely blank slate.

      Now, for more racial diversity! :) I'm excited to see what comes next for Lammily.

  2. I find the Lammily doll to be refreshing in that it shows that a doll can have more average proportions and still be exceptionally gorgeous. As a woman who is classified as being "plus sized", I prefer this doll and her simple features to the over exaggerated ones of more conventional fashion dolls.

    Also, have you seen the sticker set that is on the Lammily website? It allows you to give the doll markings of your choosing, like cellulite, stretch marks, freckles, moles, surgical scars, scrapes, and even glasses, of all things. According to the site, they are reusable, so you can give your doll any configuration of markings in any way you can imagine! Such an unusual, if not unique, accessory set for any fashion doll, don't you think?

    1. Hi Beth! I totally agree with you that it's refreshing to see how lovely this body type is in doll form. Mia reminds me of so many people I know in real life--it's strange! Her relatively plain features manage to take on many different looks.

      I have seen the stickers. I love many of the designs--like the scars, the glasses, the grass stains and even the acne! I can see kids having a really fun time with some of the items. I would have LOVED playing hospital games with those scrapes and surgical scars as a kid. :) I am not a huge fan of the cellulite and stretch marks, though. I don't see how those could look realistic, and I'm not sure how they'd be used in a game. I appreciate such things being acknowledged as normal and acceptable, though.

    2. I think the cellulite and stretch marks would require some explanation from parents, probably the same as the acne. And scars, too if the child is young enough to not know about surgery. But I actually think the stretch marks would make a great pregnancy story/game, especially if Mommy is pregnant again and explaining it to her child. Or even if the kid has younger siblings and remembers what happened to their mom during pregnancy...

      I could see all the stickers being used to explain things to kids like that.

    3. Moles! :D I have moles on my thighs, so a doll that I could give moles to would have been fun for me as a kid. And scrapes! You always get a little scuffed-up on grand adventures outdoors, and having "battle damage" would have been fun for me.

      (In fact, I remember really wanting Jurassic Park dinosaurs as a kid, because they could suffer "Dino-Damage" when you uncovered the fake wounds. Getting hurt and healing up was something I wanted to roleplay a bit more realistically than "Teddy has bandages, because he got hurt.")

  3. She is so sweet! She looks like she would be my best friend! Great review as always!

    1. Thank you Nicole! She does have a very sweet, kind way about her--perfect friend material! :)

  4. Hi Emily
    Great review again..I am also waiting for her eagerly..I can't wait to write a review on her on my blog..I also wish to write guest review here someday if you allow..
    Thanks and all the great wishes... :)

    1. Hi Sharmistha! I look forward to seeing your opinions of this doll! Thank you for sharing the link to your blog. Guest reviews are on hold until the new year, just because things get really busy, but we should chat in January!

  5. I like this doll very very much! She is pretty, she looks friendly and intelligent and approachable. I agree I would like better articulation. After all, she has this wholesome athletic look to her so I would love to stick her on any one of my model horses and I suspect those hips will make that impossible. I also ordered two but mine have yet to arrive. I've fabric waiting, once I have the doll, I plan to draft a few outfits for a certain little girl for whom one of the dolls is a present.

    1. Oooh! I didn't try putting Mia on a horse! That's a great idea! I wonder if her hips would be a problem--the angle might actually be great for riding. If I have time today, I will try Mia on one of my horses and let you know how it goes. You're absolutely right that her personality seems very well-suited to riding and other athletic activities.

    2. Hi Ann, sorry it took me so long, but I put up a new picture of Mia on the Liv horse so you can see her riding posture--it's not bad!

  6. I've got to admit, I was disappointed with my Lammily dolls. The wrists & ankles on mine barely move at all, I don't like her face (her eyes are too wide apart and she looks very vacant to me), the clothes didn't seem well made to me (bits are fraying on mine) and I really struggled getting the plastic strip out of her hair without cutting her hair. I love the shape of her body (her torso does look long but it's not - I checked) and it's very sturdy and great quality and her hair is gorgeous but overall I just don't find her to be the kind of doll I really connect with. But I do really admire what he's done - not just the idea behind her (which I do have some issues with) but that he had this idea & followed it through & did make a good quality product (she just happens to not be to my personal tastes!) I've been waiting for your review on her, though! It was great, as usual :D

    1. Thank you, Andi, I can relate to a lot of what you are saying here. The wrists and ankles take some getting used to--and all of the joints need to be "warmed up" a bit before they perform as they should. I was quite nervous about moving the wrists and ankles at first, those insertion pegs are SO small. I also completely agree about the plastic strip in the hair. Mr. Lamm confirmed that it was a price issue in this case, though. I have to keep reminding myself: this is an inexpensive doll made by a tiny company with limited funding--only so much is possible.

      I'm sorry that you are disappointed with your dolls, but I understand. I felt a similar emotion when I couldn't bend the knees and the doll wouldn't stand up. I'd encourage you to hang out with one of your girls for a little while longer, though. Test the limits of that articulation and try her in some new clothes--or with some braids in that wonderful hair. It took me a full day to get over my massive expectations for this doll and see her for what she is--which is pretty great. I feel a huge amount of affection and admiration for her at this point. She's become my little friend. :)

      I, too, am amazed by how this type of project can come to life. I get exhausted just thinking about making a doll line from scratch! ;D

    2. Thank-you :) yes that's a good point re she's an inexpensive doll! I tend to build things up in my head, too, and am almost always a little disappointed for a while & then get over it & warm up to whatever it is. I've changed her clothes and am already feeling a bit better about her! :)

      Yes, same! I'd love to be able to but I can't imagine ever doing it.

  7. She is prettier than I imagined she would be when I first heard of her. She seems very familiar to me, like a girl next door type and I like that. The most important thing about a doll to me is her face and there's just something about this doll's face that's not doing it for me. I find her expression a little blank. Maybe if she was smiling more it would help and I also don't like her man hands. I don't know if her hands are proportioned to look like the average woman's but they just seem too big to me.

    1. Hi Aileen, she does look familiar, doesn't she? I find this so interesting! She reminds me of three different young women that I know. She's a great doll for taking on lots of different personalities. I see what you mean about the expression being a little blank. Some of that might be my photography--the concave shape of her eyes catches a lot of glare from the lights and washes out the color of the irises. This can make her gaze look glassy. I have the same trouble with the Winx Club girls. Dolls with this style of eye tend to be cuter in person. Now that you mention it, I also wonder if the lack of eye makeup adds to the "blank" look? Maybe slightly thicker eyelashes (or eyelashes that span more of the length of the eye) would help?

  8. Oh I forgot to say, I do wish her hips were a bit bigger, too. And not just so she'd be closer to my shape and I could make a mini me! (I think this is my first time commenting - long time lurker, though. Eep.)

    1. A mini me doll would be so, SO fun. :) Tangent, but there are companies that will make 3D-printed portraits of real people:
      I'd love to have portraits of my kids!! Or a portrait of me, and it could be my online avatar! So many fun options...

    2. Oh my gosh! Thank-you for that link - that's so cool!!! They look better than others I've seen, too. :)

    3. Fun website, Emily--have you found any similar companies that are operating in the US?

  9. Very wonderful review! I also purchased 2 of these dolls while they were being crowd funded - one for a little girl in my family and one for myself just because. I haven't played with dolls in years, but, I absolutely LOVE her! After she arrived, I started taking her measurements and am in the process of drafting clothes patterns for her. I'm looking forward to making her a kinds of adorable dresses and outfits!

    1. Thank you so much! :D I am really excited to see Lammily in a range of new clothes! I'd love to know what styles you are imagining for her. I like the clothes she's in--they're very normal and accessible, but I also want to see her in more creative, fancy outfits. I was surprised by how Mia's overall look changed with the (very few) different outfits I tried on her. I think this doll has great potential for morphing into many different characters. Have fun!!

  10. I would have to agree that although i appreciate the idea of a doll with realistic proportions, she may not have the staying power with her target demographic. Her outfit is pretty terrible especially if she's supposed to be competing with other fashion dolls. I can't see many young children choosing her over a doll with better outfit and accessory choices. Her clothes and overall look seem to appeal more to adults than children. They are going to need to make her a bit more interesting, and possibly a bit less expensive, if they want to appeal to anyone outside of the collecting world.

    1. I think you have a great point about the clothing and the target demographic. This is something I discussed with Mr. Lamm. I thought the doll needed more elements of fantasy and dress-up in order to appeal to kids. I know that a range of Lammily outfits and accessories is planned for the future, and I appreciate that a small company can't do everything all at once, but (as you said) the debut outfit could have been more kid-friendly. I like the current outfit, but probably because it's the kind of thing I'd wear--nothing flashy. Putting the first Lammily doll in something a modern college or high school student would wear seems like a better choice.

    2. Have you seen the Youtube video about the 2nd graders reacting to Lammily? Almost everyone chose Lammily over Barbie, although the Barbie there wasn't maybe the most appealing one in the market. Anyway, almost every kid actually stated that they think Lammily is really pretty and they would prefer her over Barbie.

  11. I won't say much on the surrounding issues of Lammily as they're well articulated and covered in the comments but... How do Ken/1/6th male clothing fit on Lammily since I'm sure her foot size looks like an average male fashion doll's foot and that there's a few androgynous outfits for Ken nowadays...

    1. Good question! I was wondering this, too, but don't have Ken. I might run out and get some clothes so I can check.

      Oh, you know what? I do have Poppy Parker's boyfriend Chip, though. I can try his clothes and get back to you. That'd be a start, anyway.

    2. So what's the fate of your two Mias? I'd be tempted to customize one cuz she's a unique base to work off from but lol being in Australia shipping is killer on top of exchange rates lol.

    3. I actually noticed the size similarity myself. The shoes fit pretty well for modern Ken and Lammily dolls. The tops, also, can be interchanged although Lammily's sleeves are a bit tight on ken's biceps. But Lammily has much more butt than Ken, so she needs her own separate shorts.

  12. Woah, isn't this dolly controversial? I personally like her she seems High quality. Plus is just the first edition, I think they are going to fix the small issues for future release.

    1. Indeed! I didn't see this coming, I have to admit. ;) I agree that, especially as a first draft, she is amazing. Even with her little flaws, I like her better than many, many other dolls in this price range.

  13. Very good review. I also purchased 2 Lammily dolls during the crowd funding and reviewed her on my blog I compared her to other fuller figured or "normal"dolls such as American Teen, Rosie O'Donnell, Mixis and so on. Maybe like Mixis, Lamm could make clothing patterns available for this doll. I do like this doll, but am disappointed with the articulation and her inability to stand on her own.

    1. Oh, that's very cool, Phyllis! I will hop over and look at your pictures with Rosie and American Teen. Those are great dolls for comparison! I actually have a Mixis doll, but haven't reviewed her yet so didn't include her here. That's another great contrast. It was especially hard for me to see past the articulation flaws on this doll, particularly since I offered quite a lot of advice on the subject. I imagine it's hard to picture how everything will come together when you're designing an actual doll, though, and this is a really good start. The raw materials are all in place, and it wouldn't take much to make the articulation dramatically better--thicken the wrists and ankles, fix the hips. Done. I bet some good changes are in the works. Mr. Lamm strikes me as being very invested in this doll at all levels--I mean, he put up with my rambling thoughts and opinions, which is saying a lot. ;)

    2. At least you got yours to stand Emily. Neither of my 'original' dolls will stand, nor will the African-American lass. I have bought many Lammily company outfits along with a huge amount of Special Editions (50x one-offs). With almost all I spend hours unpicking and redoing the seams and hems, collars and waists as they are so over-simply/poorly sewn. There are some stand-out quality outfits, too.
      Hips? Bum? The Lammily dolls all have "Kardashian butts" and in Oz, that isn't the norm (nobody over here likes a big bum). If her bum wasn't so big she may get bigger hips but heavens, not both!
      Mia will fit into Ken's shoes, shirts and pants. Not all, but many.

  14. Thanks for reviewing her, Emily! I've been very curious about these dolls. As much as I enjoy the idea of having a doll that's actually human shaped, I can't help but look at her and go- but.. that's not what *I* look like in the mirror. And I know it's ridiculous to expect someone to make dolls that fit every single body shape, but it's still kind of sad to look at an average doll and realize that you stick out like a sore thumb. (Just so you know, I'm in the range of what is considered "short" for women, and I'm naturally very skinny.) I do agree with AJ that the only thing that really is the selling point of Lammily is that she's got human proportions, after a while she's just... a doll. She's not a princess, she's not special, she doesn't have a passion or a set story, and she's just sort of bland. It could be argued that the American Girl "just like you" dolls are the same, but there's so many that their selling point is that they LOOK like you. Green eyes and blonde hair? got it! Red hair and brown eyes? Got it! Also with the poor stability and online ordering, I don't see myself purchasing one of these dolls anymore. And her hips do seem a little off for some reason... Her upper arms too. Oh well. I do enjoy her face and hair.

    1. Hi Muzzy, it's really neat that you brought up this contrast to American Girl, because my husband and I were chatting last night and he wondered if perhaps Lammily should have been a little larger, more expensive, and marketed as the "next step" for girls who have outgrown American Girl--going along with the "doll who looks like you" theme. Lammily's generic (some say bland?) expression and averaged body type is very reminiscent of AG. For a small company with only enough initial resources to produce one doll, though, it's unclear whether or not there are plans for a variety of eye, skin and hair colors in Lammily's future. I think it's an outstanding suggestion!! :D

  15. Well, colour me embarrassed! I spent ages wiggling her ankles & wrists but after my comment I went back to my doll and, yep, they DO move! Gah. Sorry.

    1. Yay! That's like me with the elbows. I spent most of the review assuming they didn't bend. Facepalm.

    2. Hahaha oh dear! I'm glad I went back & checked, though.

  16. This is a really nice review, as always. Now, I have my own issues with this doll, but most of them stem from her creator and her marketing and has been touched upon by others, so I won't repeat it. That said, reading this review it made me realize one of my earlier critiques of her and I think I now know why it is:

    It’s a mathematician trying to do an artist’s job.

    With all due respect to mathematicians, but doll design, at it’s core, is an artform. And it’s of my personal belief that art, just like people (Which is also a problem with the Lammily doll) isn’t about the numbers.

    Lammily is all about the numbers. She came from statistics. And it really shows. I think that’s the reason why her body shape feels off to some people, including me. Nobody is average, so trying to make something ‘average’ in the numerical, you’re automatically creating something that doesn’t feel natural because it doesn’t exist. (I don't believe in 'Average' in any way. Nor as something that should be considered desirable. (I have.... issues with the 'Average is beautiful' tagline. Personal issues, I admit.))

    That said, I'm personally a fan of outliers and that includes dolls (My favorite doll at the moment is ClawVenus, if that's any indication). So my kneejerk reaction to things like 'Average is beautiful!' might hinder my ability to look at Lammily with an objective mind.

    That doesn't mean I don't support dolls with larger proportions. Heck, if it wasn't for the marketing and Lamm giving me the shivers, I'd probably buy one out of principle. (And for my mom. She looks eerily like a younger version of my mom.)

    1. This is a great comment! I have thought about many of these things myself over the past week--coming from a family of doll lovers, artists and mathematicians. ;)

      First of all, you're right on the money with the fact that averages don't necessarily represent any single reality. I mentioned this in the review. Lammily was designed using statistics--which seems to me like a great way to start--but I had the same initial reaction that there should have been some artistic editing afterwards to make her look more natural.

      Having said all of that, though, I can also see great value in just letting the numbers talk. Perhaps Lammily is intentionally NOT meant to represent any single "real" body type, but rather everyone mixed together. That's a pretty interesting and valuable concept, too. I mean, how else could one doll attempt to represent all women?

      As for mathematics and art, I have a different perspective. I think math and art actually intersect quite often, and in some very exciting ways! I have a friend who is a mathematical artist, and his work is incredible. As another example, music is a respected form of art, and numbers play a big role in the structure of most melodies. To me, art should not be constrained to select disciplines. That doesn't mean that the intersection of math and art will always be successful, for sure, but it certainly can be! In addition, doll design is a unique way for our society to express itself, and I don't think this outlet should be restricted, either.

      Granted, given his background, there was a lot Mr. Lamm didn't know about doll-making six months ago, but I think someone in his situation has at least the potential to add unexpected, original ideas to the mix.

      Your comments are wonderful food for thought and I love that you brought them up. I wish we could continue this conversation over coffee because this is my favorite kind of thing to think and chat about!

    2. Thank you for replying! And thank you for your kind words.
      I've been giving it some thinking, and perhaps using the term 'Math' wasn't the right one. Especially since I agree that combining math and art can lead to fascinating things. (Heck, one of my favorite artists is M.C. Escher, and he used math in some of his drawings)Maybe I was looking for another word that I can't come up with right away.
      Another thing I came up with is that her shape has a sense of the Uncanney Valley about it. Like, it's very realistic, but the flaws like her hip region being all the more glaring because of it. It's a bit odd, since usually, body shape isn't the first thing that comes to mind when I think about the Uncanney Valley.

    3. Oh--Escher is a perfect example of math in art! Good call. His work is a favorite of mine, too.

      I find the Uncanny Valley phenomenon fascinating. I suspect this is why my younger son was never a fan of computer animation movies (like Toy Story) as a little kid--animated humans can be SO realistic in many ways, and yet they aren't quite right. Very interesting point that may well help explain the reactions to Lammily's lower torso area.

    4. Actually, I could be biased by small sample size (my own body) but I think part of the problem with the hip region is that she's relatively thin, but you can't see any hip bone at the front. I remember my hip bones sticking out in high school. I weigh about the same now, 10+ years later, and they're still visible, albeit less so, even though I now carry more body fat to the hip region. Detail aside, Lammily's hips seem thin, yet that small bump of definition isn't there. Anyway, just my theory. It could also be the same bias of, "Wait, that's not what *I* look like."

  17. I enjoyed the review of the doll. I think she represents some women but not all. It is good to see different fashion dolls but I agree with you about her hip and torso. Hopefully, they will make other nationalities too.

    1. Good idea about the nationalities! The Lammily character probably made lots of friends during her international travels, so there could be dolls representing all of those friends. As Muzzy mentioned, above, it would also be great to see this concept in a wide variety of skin tones with different hair and eye color combinations, too.

  18. I love her! The one flaw I see is that her thighs don't come together when she sits. Other than that, she's awesome. If they improved the hips so her thighs came together while sitting, she'd be near perfect (in my opinion). I ordered one and I'm still waiting on mine. I wish people wouldn't politicize this doll so much. I really don't know why people feel the need to make nasty comments. If they don't like her or the doll's creator, don't buy the doll. I mean, I can't stand Moxie Girls dolls, but I'm not going to be wasting my time posting all over the Internet about how much I hate them.

    1. Hi Marianne! I think a hip improvement is in the works. And I agree that this will be a critical improvement for her. I like Mia more and more each day, though, despite the hips...which is saying something for me. ;)

      I suspect that Lammily's politicization is a mixed blessing. It's certainly what got her funded so quickly, but it's also the reason for the strong emotions that surround her. In this review, I tried to look at her simply as a $25 doll. As such, she's way above average. As a $25 doll made from scratch by a small company in six months for very little money? I'll stick to my guns: she's extraordinary. :D

  19. My daughter likes her. She's about to turn 7. So yes, some children DO like her. This doll isn't for everybody, but there's no such thing as a doll that's appealing for everybody.

  20. This is exactly the sort of project I ought to like, and the more reviews I read, the more meh my reaction gets. Body type is interesting... backstory that does not involve fashion is a big plus... but the face-up strikes me as bland and insecure.

  21. Love the comments Mia inspired. Also love the box art--better than the doll, alas. I do like a solid doll to play with; you don't feel you're going to break her like the Monster High girls--so flimsy. Unfortunately, play is fantasy. If there never was a Barbie and every other fashion doll out there, poor Mia would have a chance. But who wants to be average?

    1. It's a very interesting discussion, I agree! Many neat ideas that I wouldn't think of myself, many valuable suggestions for the future, and lots of strong opinions! ;) I have had similar thoughts about how on earth this doll could stand a chance without the element of fantasy on her side. That will come down to how well she inspires kids' imaginations, I suppose. I don't think she's average, though. She actually stands out from the doll crowd more than (as much as I love 'em...) another skinny monster doll would at this point. I think the "average" branding might have been a're right that it's not a very enticing concept. I never would have predicted the backlash to this slogan, though!

  22. Great review! Politics totally aside, those wrist and ankle joints would keep me from purchasing. I hope they get some redesign for improved mobility.

    1. From what I understand, many of the articulation issues will be addressed in future editions, which is nice to hear!

  23. I've come to the conclusion that Mr. Lamm's marketing strategy was both his greatest strength and his biggest weakness at the same time. The Barbie comparison got a LOT of media attention, which was great for getting the word out about this doll. As a result, he's gotten thousands and thousands of sales from all over the world. The problem is, the Barbie comparison and the use of the word "average" has also caused an equally-intense backlash, as some people have gotten offended by the very same marketing strategy that's gotten Lammily so much press in the first place. It doesn't help that the media has been calling the doll the "anti-Barbie" and blah blah blah. The media has been turning people off about the doll more than the company/creator has!

    Over the years, I've seen many other individual doll artists try to get a new doll line off the ground with little success. They've gotten almost no press, but haven't had this backlash, either. I really wish people wouldn't politicize this doll, but I do recognize that the artist himself started that as part of his marketing strategy. Well, it definitely worked, and he's sold THOUSANDS of dolls.

    I think once people get tired of bad-mouthing Lammily, the creator will end up with a nice doll line that sells nicely and makes a lot of people happy. (Like my daughter. ... She wants one, and not because someone called it an "anti-Barbie." She just likes the doll, and doesn't care one whit about people politicizing her.)

    1. Hi again, Marianne! I was thinking along these lines, too, and actually just posted a similar thought on your earlier comment. You've said it perfectly here. The media attention definitely seems like a double-edged sword! I hope that your analysis is correct and that when the hype subsides, the Lammily brand will enjoy a more quiet, long-term success.

  24. Wow, this is an interesting review! Beautifully written as always Emily. I know very little about this doll and only recognised her when someone mentioned acne stickers above. I realised then that I have heard snippets about her in the media over here in the UK, and what I have heard has not been good. I like the idea of a doll with average, or even slightly larger, proportions but this doll is very boring to me. I agree that her outfit is dated but I also think that there is something odd about her shape. She doesn't look very natural to me. It's the groin/torso region I think. She also has a very thick neck to my eye. She looks much better in some of the outfits that you chose. It is not the first time that you have made an unappealing doll more attractive to me - which makes me feel a little annoyed that more of your suggestions weren't taken up. I think that P-girl stated it perfectly when she said "It’s a mathematician trying to do an artist’s job". I enjoy dolls a as art form and this doll lacks any creative elements at all. I consider myself a feminist and I do have a problem with Barbie. We have a couple in the house but I encourage my daughter to explore other dolls such as Lottie, Liv, Moxie Girls ... and my dear old friend Sindy (Tonner have now released their Sindy. I would LOVE a review of her if possible).Despite my my wish that there were more realistic and.... dare I say wholesome dolls on the market, this one seems to push my buttons for different reasons. I just couldn't warm to her in your review but many of the comments on here have solidified my negative feeling about this doll. I have taken a quick look at the website and I have to agree that it all seems a little forced. It is hard to put my finger on why I feel so suspicious of this project – but I do. The marketing needs revision. Even as a starting point, the name is clumsy. I'm sorry to be so negative about a doll that you like Emily. For some reason, there is something about this doll that makes me feel like my feminist toes are being trod on.

    1. No, no--please don't apologize for disagreeing with me! I really appreciate the thoughtful way that you describe your uncertainties about this doll and this brand. Honestly, I'll never know how I would react if I were seeing her for the first time in an online review...especially with all of the strong emotions that are swirling around. There's a lot to think about. There also seems to be an urge to choose sides (love her or hate her) which is a very natural reaction in a controversial situation. I love how you and so many other commenters have taken the time to express the good, the bad...AND all of the gray areas of your reaction.

      I have tried to let everything else fall away and just look at the doll in front of me for what she is. I think she's a really nice doll. In a situation like this, I really wish everyone could see the doll in person and draw their own conclusions--good or bad--from that alone. I'm a dreamer, though...

      I would definitely like to review Sindy! I have not forgotten about her...there are just so many great dolls on my list. It's good to keep reminding me and getting her back up towards the top of the list, though. ;)

  25. Thank you so much for this review! It was really helpful and I particularly enjoyed the almost scientific approach and the lovely pictures.

    Overall I have to say I like the doll. She really does look friendly. And I agree on the hips part! I don't have a problem with her old fashioned top or with her "dull personality". I don't even know what that has to mean? A doll is just a doll. The kid playing with it gives her personality. I'm sure that using your imagination is more interesting than replaying those Disney movies over and over again, because "but Mom, that's Elsa, she HAS to do this and this". I don't want to offend any of you, but let's not forget that playing with dolls comes before collecting them. And finally I don't mind that a man created an average looking doll and spoke his mind on his creation. The only problem with that is that after all those rants by the feminists against Barbie and the dolls alike, it's namely a man that created Lammily.

  26. I think that there are a lot of things to like about this doll, aside from her quality construction (with the exception of her articulation). Because she was not branded with a specific personality this allows for very open, imaginative play. I could say this is also true of Barbie because she is, and has been, so many things depending on her outfit and accessories. But I think in attempting to appeal to everyone with the sort of awful "Average is Beautiful" this doll is in danger of not really appealing to anyone. She's so average that she's entering the territory of neutral. Neutral is not really fodder for play. Why did her body type become her only defining characteristic? Can't an average shaped person enjoy fun fashion? Even fantasy fashion? I fully agree that there should be a range of doll options that include "average" and "above average" body types but her body, because it's based on statistics seems like a hodge podge of measurements that possibly don't belong on one body (as you mentioned).
    That being said, I wonder why everyone is so concentrated on Mr. Lamm and his opinion of the doll. Do most of you research and make sure you agree with the opinions of all the people who make dolls that you buy? Are people looking up the biography of Ruth Handler before they buy a Barbie? Understandably, Mr, Lamm was in the press a lot and so everyone got a good look at him, but his reasons for making Lammily are not branded on her forehead. I think she can stand independently from them. It is true, however, that for years women have been calling for a more realistically proportioned doll and of course, when it finally gets made it is a man who brought it about. It would be interesting to see what a team of women would come up with.

    1. Actually Garret Sander, the creative person behind Monster High, is a wonderful person who is respectful of different genders, races, and sexualities.

    2. That's great! But is his personality WHY you like or dislike MH? My point was more that I don't see much reason in liking or disliking Lammily, as a doll, based on Mr.Lamm's opinions.

    3. Mr. Lamm's *opinions

  27. I like that she has a girl-next-door look. Some people are seeing this as boring/bland, but I don't see it that way. There are a lot of dolls on the shelves with no backstory and no flashy clothing, that kids love anyway. A doll doesn't need those things to be loved and played with by a kid.

    I quite frankly don't understand the "misogynistic" statement made earlier in these comments. I've also seen other comments (mostly on other boards) that call the doll "feminist." That's hilarious. How could it be both? *Shakes head.* The doll isn't either misogynist or feminist, people. It's just a doll. *Backs away slowly.*

    1. It's 'both' because feminism is not stagnant. This has been a major point of contention and conversation since the idea of Lammily was introduced- she strikes at a fault line in feminism itself. Second-wave feminists are more likely to consider Lammily "feminist" because they believe that glamour and traditional femininity are oppressive weapons of the patriarchy. They would say that Lammily is a great role model because a woman shouldn't be shamed of not looking like Barbie. Third-wave feminists are more likely to consider the ideology and marketing behind Lammily "misogynistic" because they believe that glamour and traditional femininity is a valid choice for those who choose it for themselves. They would say that no woman should be shamed because she doesn't look like Barbie, but also that no woman should be shamed because she does. This is why Lamm's comment about Barbie's approachability vs. Lammily's is controversial. It reveals that Lammily was- at least at her conception- not about health or realism or being a good role model. She was about what a man intimidated by the Barbie type finds appealing in a woman- the approachability that leads to accessibility.

      -Tara La Reine

    2. Like sydney said, its just a doll. Personally I just want to enjoy the doll for what it is and not try to force some ideology on it.

    3. I couldn't agree more with Tara La Reine. She summed this dualism perfectly.


  28. I received my lammily and had a very similar reaction and experience with her as Emily. I am excited about the future if this company and truely hope it is not halted by overly PC commentators.

    The price of clothes makes sense to me in that it would help create enough revenue to keep the company going in the early stages since there is only one doll to buy.

    Also I would like to say I am excited by Mr. Lamm's vision of a doll facing issues we all face when trying to figure out how to live in the world. The pictures of her reading physics books and being active really inspired me. I feel that focusing on these things in the way it was communicated on the lammily blog is a first that I have seen. Fingers crossed this vision is fully realized!

    Meanwhile I do feel like my Lammily doll (Wilhelmina, or Mina for short;) is definitely a new friend that brings something new to my other 12" dolls.

    Great review Emily, inspired me to debox my doll!

  29. My main problem with Lammily is that she brings body comparisons into the forefront in playline dolls. You look at that line up of dolls and she sticks out like a sore thumb, because her body is so different and, let's be blunt, she doesn't look "average" next to the other girls, she looks dumpy. Masculine. Fat. I've never once looked at a fashion doll and thought, "I want a body more like hers." But when I see Lammily next to all these other fashion dolls? I do find myself thinking, "Thinner looks nicer. Thinner is better." And as a larger woman, this is very disconcerting. This is only compounded by her terrible outfit (it's all denim and ombre and... I don't know, it really does look like something out of a time machine from the 80s/90s) that can't be changed because, again being blunt, she's too "fat" to fit in anyone else's clothes.

    I shudder to think of what will happen when well-meaning parents get their kids a Lammily doll. Either she becomes the "fat girl" in that child's toy box... or the parents will supply nothing but Lammily dolls/clothes to the child, which could be a positive thing (as the child will see these proportions in the "normal" way they're intended)... until they bring it over to a friend's house and discover their "normal" doll is actually the "fat girl" no one wants to play with. And then, again, we introduce the "thinner is better" mode of thinking, because the thinner dolls will be more glamorous and feminine, have better clothing options and "fit in" with the fantasy play world better.

    I never developed body issues from my Barbies growing up. I never looked at them that way. However, I did have some Maxie dolls. They had a thicker waist and smaller bust (but admittedly had nothing on Lammily's proportions). However, those changes were enough to make her difficult to dress in Barbie's clothes. And I remember having the same issues with her. She was pretty... but she WAS the "fat girl" in my play with friends. She needed different clothing for her different size - and given the shortage of that, her outfits were lackluster. She was the fat dud in a play bin of gorgeous divas.

    Lammily, in my opinion, doesn't break down size barriers. She creates them. For adult collectors, that's fine. It creates an interesting addition to the field of dolls. For kids? I can only shudder and hope for the best.

    1. It depends on what you compare her with. If you compare Lammily with Barbie dolls, then yes, she looks fat in comparison because Barbie is weirdly skinny (especially her butt and legs). But look at American Girl dolls and others like them. They all have stocky, thick-waisted, "fat" bodies, but nobody ever calls them fat, because they don't compare them with Barbie. Lammily doesn't need to be compared to Barbie, she just needs to be judged on her own merits. It's sort of the creator's own fault that people are comparing his doll to Barbie, though, since he was the one who began the comparison in the first place. I think he made a nice doll though. I like her.

    2. But the thing is, most children don't play with American Girl dolls and Barbie at the same time. They basically go in different play bins, so to speak, and there are different fantasy worlds kids put them in. One is more in line with baby dolls and a miniature child's world, while the other is more in line with a miniature adult world.

      Lammily is made to play in a Barbie-esque play world; even her reputation as the "average Barbie" puts her in direct play with Barbie, NOT in a world of her own. For any kids who get her, she's going to end up in the same play bin as Barbie. And, to be frank, putting her in the same play bin with Barbie, MH, EAH, etc, is the only chance this doll has of surviving at the moment. There simply isn't enough variety for her to exist in her own world. There's only one of her and a small number of fashion packs.

  30. I think I resist this doll because she’s boring. Even after this long review, I can't see any reason to buy her and usually this blog makes me want every item reviewed. ;) (At least for a day or two.) I like her new backstory. The box is LOVELY. If the doll was that lovely, I would be delighted to have her in my collection. But she’s missing the essential thing about fashion dolls – FASHION. Not in the sense that she has to be a fashion model, but in the variety of clothes that go with situations. And maybe accessories. I realize this is hard for a crowd funded doll to do, but that’s not really my problem, is it?

    Personally, I think that original outfit is horrible. It’s weird. Unfashionable. The shorts are strangely short (at least for a normal girl, which she’s supposed to be). I like the Moxie Teenz white top on her and that would have been cute. It brightened her up a bit. I like the world traveler idea. If that had been part of the launch, I may have taken to the doll more. They could have provided (relatively cheaply) backdrops for the doll. Or had a backdrop with every outfit. She needs something to connect her to her theme - A skating outfit. A rancher outfit. A vartiety of ethnic outfits. Maybe a fancy outfit to go to a show or a ballet. Something to bring out some more interest. The world traveler idea feels like an afterthought rather than an integral part of the product.

    Frankly, it’s not 1982. Barbie is no longer THE standard plaything for girls. Objecting to Barbie is kinda like railing against to reaganomics. Barbie is not a doll older girls play with much, unless they are real doll/Barbie fans. I think that is disappointing, but it’s a reality. Part of that may be that American Girl has supplanted some of that space and I can’t complain about THAT because I think 18 inch dolls are a great size and I adore them. I think what I would really like to see is parents and family stop buying 3 year olds Barbies. Unlike many critics, I actually DO have a problem with VERY young girls playing with adult/teenage looking dolls. I do have concerns about the bodies of fashion dolls like Monster High dolls (despite enjoying them myself, I am not sure how I would feel about MY five year old playing with them.) And I do like the idea of a fashion doll that looks like a real girl/woman.

    But if I was buying a girl a doll based on those concerns I would get her a lottie or an American Girl doll. Both are wonderful products and have a range of play options that are clear and appealing.

    Lammily strikes me as kind of like getting zucchini loaf for your birthday because mom thought it would be healthier. I think there is a reason that most of the critical takes on Barbie have been art projects rather than real toys.

    Frankly I would rather see a doll that focuses on drawing girls BACK into doll play between 8-11 and encourages them to not grow up quite so fast.

  31. There are a couple of things I don't like about the Lammily doll. Her face is pretty bland, so she doesn't portray much personality. She wouldn't need an exaggerated face mold like, say, Poppy Parker, maybe just a bit more definition. Although it seems like Mr. Lamm's real focus is the body.

    Secondly, looking at her nude from the front, her body to me just looks like a bag of potatoes. I would have liked to see a little definition in the waist area.It would have given her some hip definition as well.

    Lastly, I agree with you that her neck is a tad short, which doesn't help with the "squat" appearance she can take on. It occurred to me while looking at these dolls that part of the problem is dolls are more or less human bodies made very small. Maybe I'm just rationalizing here, but I think overweight real-life women can carry the extra weight better if they are taller. At only 5'3", I feel my shortness exacerbates my overweight proportions. Not saying this doll is overweight, but maybe she looks "bigger" because of a doll's short height. Or maybe she really does just look odd because of how thin other dolls her height are.

    I think this doll is supposed to be "average" not in the "most women look like this" way, but in the mathematical way; this is average mean of women's measurements.

    I would like to know where this doll was made. It's been my dream for a while to make my own fashion doll, but I'd be extremely put off if travel to China was necessary. I've read of one designer of a small doll line who moved to China permanently for convenience.

    1. An email I received from Lammily indicates she is being shipped from China.

  32. For the most part I like this doll and I applaud the effort. However- I don't know how you come up with an "average" body shape, especially in the US, which is such a huge melting-pot. To me, this doll has a typically Asian shape- straight waist, narrow hips and thighs, shorter legs. To me, more "average" would be to raise the crotch up a cm or so, add a tiny bit of shape to the hips, and shave a tiny bit from the waist. Most women who are even overweight have at least a bit of definition to their waist- and this doll is supposed to reflect a teenager. I'm not talking about a wasp-thin Barbie waist- but a bit of definition would make her less awkward looking from the front. From the side, she looks great. She looks better dressed than undressed- but I agree with the person who commented that her outfit is dated. It honestly doesn't look like anything any teenager I know would wear. Overall, though, I think she's nice, and I wish Mr. Lamm success with his endeavors.

    1. Yeah, I get whay you mean with the whole "average" thing. I try to think up of an average but it's hard because everyone is different, like at least where I live no body shape is more common than another, everyone's just different. And I didn't notice until you mentioned it but her outfit makes her look more mature than what she's supposed to be. I'm sure she'll get lots of more clothes eventually thought.

  33. I'd love to see Lammily with a big, fun, diverse wardrobe and hope that this becomes available over time (especially since she can't share many clothes with other doll lines...), but it's way too early to tell how that will turn out.

    I see your point about the debut outfit. I don't find it frumpy, but it's a little dull, and might not have been the best choice for grabbing the attention of kids and teens. Maybe a plain tee shirt would have been a better choice--just to keep the outfit from making a statement that overpowers the doll?

    I adore creatively-themed dolls, but I still feel like there's room in the world for a well-made doll without a fancy backstory or an elaborate theme. If the doll is appealing and versatile enough, and is easy/fun to play with, kids' imaginations will do the rest.

  34. Hi, I'm MyLittleMegara and I really love your blog and your reviews. Mia is very pretty and I absolutely love the fact that there is *finally* a realistic Barbie-esque doll!!! I was wondering if you'd please let me do a guest review of the 2013 Disney Parks Rapunzel doll- I'd really enjoy it! If not, that's okay I understand. Thanks a bunch!


    1. Or the new "Deluxe Talking Anna" doll form the Disney Store... I'm hoping to review both for my personal site anyway, but I'd love to be able to share! Thanks, Emily!

  35. I always thought her ankle and wrist joints were gonna be a problem since I first saw them, like they were made by someone who was totally new to the doll designing thing. Buy overall she looks nice and I like her. I just think she need more clothes and skin tone/hair variations which will probably come in the future. Also I don't understand why that Barbie book sparked up such a controversy. I'm studying at a video game college and I read the book, from what I can tell Barbie needed her friends' help to make the video game a reality because she was more of the game designer (artist). She made the designs and obviously it takes plenty of people to make a game because artists aren't usually programmers, it's an entirely different concentration.

  36. Hi Emily! I believe this is my first comment on your blog, but I've been reading it for a while and I love it! I am not a huge collector of dolls smaller than Hearts For Hearts Girls, but I think this was a really good idea! She does really look realistic to real girls :) Thank you so much for this wonderfully detailed review!

    ★ Shelby-Grace ★

    1. Oh, and that picture with her and the little Calico Critter is adorable! I love it :)

      ★ Shelby-Grace ★

  37. Great review Emily! Personally I think this project is amazing, designing a doll isn't easy at all :-). What I keep in mind is that this is the first edition, and first editions ALWAYS have some things that can be improved in the next edition. Overall I find this first doll a success, and I look forward to see how Lammily will develop. She has much possibilities for exciting outfits, friends and accessories. And I also look forward to see if she can sit on a horse :-).

  38. She's a cute doll but i wish her style reflected the box art a bit more. The box is the most satisfying aspect of the doll. Otherwise, with some minor alterations in her body construction and better clothing options, i think she's a great little doll

  39. Still I am under the impression of your lovely post on the Wildflower Dolls, dear Emily, and they were so very appealing to me because of their uniqueness and poseability. While the Lammily Dolls don't have this particular charm, I do wonder what a customizer could make out of them. There is potential in this doll and it lies in being like an empty canvas for the fantasy.
    As some of you have already mentioned, one has to remember that this is the first edition. And for that, I think, the doll has turned out not too bad.
    Over here, in Germany there have been rumors that Ruth Handler actually didn't invent the idea of Barbie as such, but she is rather supposed to have bought the concept from a manufacturer of novelty items.
    The Barbie anchestor is said to have been originally a cartoon in a newspaper - what kind of role-model could this be? And what was the philosophy behind that concept? And who published a statue of a blonde young woman in an almost shockingly teeny-tiny bathing suit - could that have been a man? And what ideas was that person trying to impose on the customers? And on the little girls that this object was bought for?

    I believe that it is not that important what the creator of a toy intends it to be, but rather what the child does with it. And while I know about peer pressure, I don't think a child would truly turn away from a beloved toy, just because a school mate doesn't like it. I have many fond memories of playing with old (say 40 years then) Schildkroet dolls, which didn't fit in any of the commercially successfull toy-lines of the eighties - and my friends and I had them sit and have tea and picnic with MLPs, Barbie and Teddy Ruxpin. I still have these dolls and toys - and I cherish them (because of the memories and not because of their assumed collectability/ financial value). And as a child, I couldn't care less for the ideology behind the toy - all I wanted was to play.

    Finally, I agree, there is room for improvement with the Lammily dolls. Both when it comes to the marketing strategy and to construction. But this could be seen as a challenge and not as an obstacle. (More accessories, anyone?)
    Now I'll go and have a look at the web site - I might just order myself one of these, and try what I can make with her...
    Thank you, Emily for this review. And for providing a place for such a discussion!

    1. I really like the way you have worded your comment, it echoes my thoughts very well. Rather than being dull, I see the doll as non-prescriptive, inviting creative and imaginative play. I'm really happy that she made it off the drawing board, it's so neat to see a doll that is realistically proportioned!

  40. Hi Emily,

    Another awesome review! I actually just discovered this doll a couple days ago when I was searching for information about another doll. I plan on ordering one once I get my paycheck this Friday. I had seen the pictures of what Barbie would look like with proportions of an average 19 year old but didn't know that someone was actually going to actually make a doll with more realistic proportions.

    I really like this doll. I'm not going to say that everything about this line is perfect, but all doll lines have their flaws. One thing I wanted to note after reading previous comments is that on one of the blogs on the Lammily website, it does state that they would like to release more dolls in the future with different ethnicities and body shapes. They'd also like to release a male doll too.

    When I think of "average" when it comes to this doll, I think her body is just an example of what the body of a 19 year old could realistically look like. Not every 19 year old will look like her. Some will be slimmer and some will be heavier. Some will be shorter and some will be taller. Some will have more of an hour glass figure than she does.

    I don't think the fashions are as fashionable as some doll lines but I do like them. As an adult collector, I like her and her fashions. I'm not sure how big of a hit she will be with children but if she does become successful, I think she would be more popular among older girls. The Barbie's and clothing that I played with when I was 10 were much more fashion-focused than the sparkly mermaids and princesses covered in pink and purple that I played with when I was 6. I think the Liv dolls were a successful doll line until they had a few dud lines. It's worth noting that their first wave of dolls and fashions were a lot more toned down than the ones released later on. Starting with the second wave, the fashions, make-up, and wigs were more bold. I'm not saying Lammily is going to take that approach but there may be some things that change about her and fashions as the line continues on.

    I agree that her hips could stand to be a little wider but this doesn't seem to be real noticeable with her clothing on or the pictures of her in the other outfits on the website. I like her face. She looks friendly and cheerful but not unrealistically happy. To me, she looks like she is wearing make-up but in natural tones. I like that the first edition comes with brown hair rather than blonde which a lot of doll lines tend to make a higher production priority. I do not have a problem with blonde dolls but do see that Mattel tends to produce a very high amount of blonde dolls in the Barbie line. It seems like almost half of the dolls released in the Barbie line are platinum blonde which is not a realistic representation of the overall population. This was something that bothered me when I was a child because I was a brunette in a toy aisle with mostly blonde dolls.

    I'm looking forward to what the future has in store for Lammily.

  41. Ever since I heard about Lammily, I was hoping that you would do a review, Emily. As always, an excellent job and I appreciate your looking at Lammily as a doll, politics aside.

    I honestly don't know what I think about Lammily. Strictly speaking, I suppose I find her face rather vacant and her jointing questionable. Unlike a lot of commenters, I don't have issues with her initial outfit. I work on a college campus and regularly see young women wearing ombre-shirts and shorts. In fact, I think I saw several versions of nearly the same outfit during the summer. (Not my taste, mind you, but young people certainly dress that way.)

    In a more general sense, I don't feel like I know what Lammily is trying to do.

    If she is trying to be a fashion doll, than the doll needs to be more high end (I was not impressed by the finishing job on the shirt, nor the unhemmed short pockets). I have no trouble paying 24 dollars for an outfit, but that amount when the doll herself is only 25? I'd much rather have a fifty dollar doll with a more expressive face mold and better joints. I do really like the designs of the outfits they are proposing on their website, but as a child I would have wanted more "fantasy" ballgowns and things of that nature.

    (Seriously, ever sewn doll clothes with a child advising you? Say good-bye to tasteful and hello to neon-green evening gowns with many many ruffles and ribbons and lace.)

    So, if she's supposed to be a play doll, than I wonder how her staying power will be. If she's supposed to be a fashion doll, than she's just not high end enough.

    If the point is to "promote realistic beauty standards" (taken from the shop description of the doll), than I have to assume her purpose is primarily socio-political. I think this is backed up by the scar and cellulite stickers and the clear intent by the creators to engage in a media strategy of "Barbie-Baiting". As a sociopolitical art project, I think she's fascinating and I would love to see what some of my sociologist and popular culture studies friends think of her.

    I suppose, in closing, what I would say about Lammily is this… If the doll survives the end of the media hype and actually becomes a solid part of the toy landscape, than I will be interested. Until then, I can't shake the feeling of gimmick. (And I apologize for the length of this comment... I might have gotten a little carried away.)

  42. Pushing the politics surrounding this doll to the side; I feel Lammily's biggest weakness is for a doll intended for children she seems like a doll more aimed at collectors. By that I mean her clothes, price, durability, ect it all seems like it would not catch on with children quite as much.

    If I bought her for a child I feel she'd be broken much too quickly (largely around the hands and feet); true, Monster High can be breakable at times, but they're cheaper than Lammily. And Mattel provides replacement parts on their website for those kids who loose the arms; which is something that might be a good idea for the Lammily brand to look into doing.

    Also, while understandable considering her origins, her expensive fashion packs (compared to the price of the doll) and inability to share clothes takes a lot of he fun of being a fashion doll away. For those collectors/parents who sew that might be alright, but for those who can't sew and can't afford the packs she looses a lot of appeal if you don't like the outfit she comes with. And kids, unlike collectors, probably don't have quite so many different sizes of doll to try to mix and match with.

    Speaking of clothes, as many have said her outfit seems dated and rather drab compared to the lovely variety of clothes you can buy for other dolls. Some of her other clothes might be nicer, but their everyday-wear nature still feels like they're appealing to adults rather than children.

    Not that I think no child would ever like her; I just feel she alienates a lot of her intended market that way. And that's a shame as despite a few questionable things I would like to see a doll like this doll succeed.

    Now from a purely collector's standpoint, I find her to be a fairly nice doll. Her face is a bit bland and vacant to me, but I bet she's make for some amazing customs. If this line continues adding other characters I'd love too see other ethnicities and different body types as well; I feel that'd take off some of the awkwardness of the tag line if 'average' was being shown as a wide range of body types.

    All in all this was a wonderful review that has sparked a very interesting discussion.

  43. As a child of the seventies, this doll reminds me of Dusty from Kenner. Had zero interest in Dusty and like my young self, zero interest in this Lammily doll. I do wish the creator well though BUT he does need to get thick skin in a world of instant comments, they are not always going to be what you wish for.

    Your review was great as always, Emily, he was correct on seeking your advice-its too bad he didn't listen.

    I am waiting with bated breath for the 2015 LE 17" Disney Dolls and Designer Fawn Fairy. Seems the older I get, Disney pulls at my heart strings.

    A treat as always, Tina

    1. I would rather be attacked by a rabid grizzly bear than be famous in today's world. The world of instant comments that you mentioned is a pretty vicious place sometimes.

  44. I'm chiming in with my thanks for this article, too, Emily.

    I dislike the Lammily marketing - the anti-Barbie angle and the "average is beautiful" tag - but between your article and another I read about the doll herself, I can see adding a Lammily doll to my collection. I like her face.

    Her body? Shrug, acceptable for one doll. I would not want a horde of dolls with this shape. For heavier than the thin Barbies (model muse bodies), I prefer the Get Set or Mixis dolls.

    (I am now eagerly awaiting your Mixis doll review. I'd love to pin it to my Mixis Pinterest board.)

    I enjoyed reading your review and the many comments attached. I'm inspired to write a pre-owning post.

  45. I'd heard of Lammily, and thought the idea was really incredibly interesting. Seeing the doll.. makes me think the idea is still interesting but sadly that the doll herself is not. Putting aside the slightly forced pc-ness of her, the thing that strikes me most is that she appears to be some sort of hybrid that tries to be older child/adult collector-friendly at too much of a budget to really realize her full potential.

    The clicky arms and legs veer far too into the "cheap" side of Barbies of the past (how fun when those things break!), and the wrists and ankle joints popping off so easily is frankly a bit scary. And what's with the baby doll-style hip joints? I'm also left wondering if the wandering hair part is intentional to give each doll a little individuality, but resigned that it's probably an issue of poor quality control, like those mismatched shirt pockets. Obviously it's harsh to hold a startup to the standard of a mass-produced doll line, but if you're going to try and join in their playground you have to bring your 'A' game. Thus far, Lammily does not seem to have her game face on. She's talking the talk, but not walking the walk, as it were.

    Additionally, I think the doll is (dare I say it) focusing too much on "fashion" as a selling point. Well, specifically the TYPE of fashion they're using. I'm looking at the fashions on the online store, and while they are making an effort to seem like globe-trotting getups, there really isn't much that "makes" each fashion evoke the supposed place of origin to my eyes. I can't help but think that there's been a huge opportunity missed here. Instead of just making Lammily a "realistic Barbie" with kind of lame Barbie knockoff outfits, wouldn't a series of world-travelling adventurewear have been much, much cooler? A rough and tumble rancher outfit from her time in the outback, for example? I know they used the same outfit in all the art, but if the girl is a globetrotter let her look the part someplace besides the box and pamphlet! Giving her a more adventurous personality would, imo, make her a much more engaging doll. Giving her unique "adventure" outfits would make her even more attractive. (Maybe with a little story printed on the back of the outfit box telling about the journey that she wore it on?) A bump up in price to make this stuff happen would not make me flinch at all.

  46. Whoa, there's a lot to read here and forgive me if I'm echoing what someone else has said, but what about a series of Lammilies that would represent a group of friends all with different "nonstandard" body types that wouldn't necessarily make it in a Next Top Model lineup? Some tall and gawky, some short and slender or stocky, etc. Get appealing faces and especially story line, emphasize fun, and you might get the message across that we don't all have to be carbon copies of an ideal to be interesting. The personality would be expressed in the body form (for some reason I'm thinking of the Scooby Doo group and Velma). Lammily doesn't have to be a single doll that does/represents it all...but the doll line as a line can represent its motto. This is done in fashion collections, where there are variations on a theme, that still remains cohesive. Maybe it would be cost prohibitive, but like Tonner he could put out sketches of the friends to come. Maybe even have his buying audience help select the next friend to enter the group. Even AG dolls have used well written stories to 'sell their characters. Nikolay might work with some authors to get to know his doll and infuse life into her. Barbie's creator knew who her doll was as well as her target consumer which is what made her fight for this blockbuster idea. Read her story and you may see Barbie differently. A doll is a complex artifact that often expresses cultural values. To expect a doll alone to change an entrenched cultural outlook is to grab the problem from the wrong end, and to underestimate. the constellation of influences -- economic, political, historical, psychological, etc -- that finds expression in them. Child's play is often, like theatre a rehearsal. If you listen to your children play, you might begin to know where to enter in.

    1. Now THAT would be an excellent idea. A range of dolls, ALL of different body shapes, sizes and ethnicities. In that respect, kids COULD create a play world entirely composed of these dolls. And each one should come with a couple outfits, too - to make sure they ALL have something to wear.

    2. The problem with a doll line of many different sizes is that they are not likely to be able to share clothes. If each doll has to have her/his own clothes line, that becomes more expensive for both producers and consumers. There could be groupings of friends that could share clothes, which would be a little better (think Barbie/Francie/Skipper and their friends). Part of the fun of dolls is dressing and styling them, and only having a few outfits (like Stardolls) limits enjoyment.

  47. I first thought I wouldn't like this doll, but after seeing your review I think she is beautiful! The only complaints I have is the neck, it indeed looks a bit too short, and that body looks little bit off, having more hips could probably fix that. I also like the outfit, to me it looks normal and not outdated (but I'm no fashion expert). Someone said they haven't seen anyone wearing ombre shirt for years, but I certainly saw some last summer. I've also seen lots of teen girls wearing shorts that short, but maybe finland is a bit backwatery place, lol.

    I really hope this doll line won't end up with just this one character, it would be lovely to see dolls of different colours and shapes in the future, if I were a parent I would certainly buy dolls like that for my kids. I could even collect them myself, fashion dolls in general aren't that interesting to me because they all look the same, there's no diversity in molds, except some little details in Monster High.

  48. Where do you keep all of your dolls?

  49. I'm not gonna lie, my main thoughts re: these dolls can basically be summed up as 'huh, neat.' /goes back to work/
    That said, though, there's an interesting idea brought up (however inadvertently) in the comments about realism vs. stylisation when it comes to designing characters like this.

    Now, I'm an animator and not a doll designer (a few stopmotion puppets aside) but the main ideas that come up often whenever things like character design comes up are that
    a) you're giving a -symbolic- representation of reality, not a 100% faithful one, and
    b) characters and their designs should fit in to the overall aesthetic of whatever film/piece you're trying to make.

    So Belle's just drawn as a stylised Disney-style pretty girl because, well, she's in a Disney movie and everyone else in the film is drawn a similar way, the same way you can expect Tim Burton puppets to have big eyes and spindlelegs.

    Okay, that got away from me a bit, but the point I was trying to make was; it's entirely possible (and how I see it) that dolls like Barbie or Monster High (as you mentioned) were never meant to represent a 100% realistic human woman in the first place. IIRC, the early sketches of Barbie looked more like fashion illustrations and pretty-girl cartoons of the time than anything realistic.Same goes for MH and their super-cartoony vaguely-anime-ish designs.
    (and on a different scale, American Girl dolls are supposed to represent ten-year-olds and yet look nothing like an actual ten-year-old. huh. whoulda thunk it.)

    I have no idea where I was going with this, but hopefully that makes sense.

  50. I think she looks great clothed. Nude is odd I think because flesh isn't suppose to be hard and immovable. Flesh wraps around our bones, moves and stretches and basically changes shape. In most poses, our whole body changes shape, especially along our spine. But doll flesh can't do this. They don't have skeletons and muscles and because Lammily has a bit more flesh, it looks odd when it doesn't shift with her. Her tummy and chest should rise when she lifts her arms. He hips would become more prominent. Her shoulders should get rounder when she reaches forward and when she leans back her shoulder blades would stand out more. Most figure drawing books make a big deal about the skeletal and muscle system for a reason.

    But with her clothes on, we can't see her that body looks more like armor than flesh. With clothes, she looks really nice actually.

    And there have been studies of little girls and barbies. I think you can google Barbie and Emme study and read results and commentary. Little girls tended to think they should be skinnier after they intereacted with barbie than they did just before they intereacted with barbie. "Emme" is a plus sized doll they used as a their more realistic doll. But it's interesting to note that many slightly older girls were not as effected by barbie and it was instead after interacting with Emme that they felt body dissatisfaction.

    I think it's actually hard to tell what this means. I remember comparing myself to barbie too. I was bothered that I had pores, tiny hairs, freckles and my skin could be pinched and so on. So honestly, I think we should remind girls as often as possible that they aren't dolls and shouldn't want to be. Dolls are suppose to represent us, not the other way around.

  51. I don't know, my four year old was just looking over my shoulder when I was on the Lammily website and spontaneously said, "Ooh! I like her!" And I'm not really sure how many teens want dolls at all - by then most have either grown out of them or are starting to approach them more like adult collectors.

    As a kid I genuinely was frustrated by my dolls being unrealistic. Some kids like to play fantasy games and dress their dolls up, some like to pretend that their dolls are real people in whatever pretend scenario they come up with. I was the latter and would have adored the Lammily doll. Better articulation and we're talking dream doll for my inner six year old.

  52. I don't know about the "give her some character" kind of comments. A doll doesn't need to have a character to be good (as anyone who buys BJDs will tell you). I liked Lorifina and MiM because they weren't established characters. The children created their own characters for them, and that helps give them a creative outlet.

    That being said, it's really hard to look past all of the negativity that has stirred up because of Lammily. I know that it may not have been the artist's intent, but as much as I want to, I just can't disconnect the two. Anyway, I can see the appeal, but she just doesn't appeal to me (I'm not sure what would fix it, since I can't quite pin point what's wrong).

    I loved the review! I love how thorough your reviews are!


  53. Thanks for your review - I actually squealed and made my husband jump when I saw the title, as I've been massively excited for Lammily.

    I've now ordered one for myself. To be honest I'd like to wait and see if they improve the articulation and sturdiness before I get one for my daughter, as she's only 4 and her dolls lead hard lives. But I'm excited enough, and the doll is affordable enough, for me to want one of the first edition dolls for my collection.

    I wonder if the political aspect (hyped up by the media, I'm sure) has led some commenters to want this doll to do more than any one doll could. As an 'average' body it's a really interesting concept, and no, of course it doesn't reflect every body - how could it? (If this turned into a range of dolls with different body shapes I'd be over the moon, but clearly that would be a big challenge to develop and they would each need their own wardrobe that couldn't be shared with any other doll - not so practical.) I also struggle to see how *one* doll could possibly marginalise the tall, thin and glamorous, since that's virtually all we are otherwise given by fashion doll manufacturers. I think we have a pretty long way to go before Barbie types are oppressed by the average and pudgy...

    And as for the boring/uncreative stuff, all I can really say is that children look for different things in their dolls. I like Monster High as a collector, from an aesthetic point of view - but as a kid I would have found them dull and frustrating precisely because the makers have been so creative! If someone created a full-on character for me, there was nothing left for me to do. But give me a simple doll in jeans and a T-shirt and I was away in fantasy land, putting them in bizarre scenarios and giving them elaborate back stories. I still prefer dolls that act as a bit of a blank canvas, and I think Lammily does that very well.

    I do hope the articulation improves. The smooth legs look fabulous but I always worry about that type of internal joint. And it would be nice if she stood well - though let's be honest, not a lot of existing 12" play dolls do that either.

    The torso does look long from the front, though less so when she's dressed. I think it's partly an illusion created by those squared-off tops to her thighs - the actual centre point of her crotch is a bit higher than those, but because they create such a strong visual line they actually read to the eye as the bottom of her torso. From the side her shape looks wonderful.

    I'm just super excited for something new on the doll market. Surely there's room for a doll like this - not everyone will like her by any means, but then not everyone likes the super-slender, design-heavy fashion dolls. Choice is good to have.

    1. I agree with everything you said, Hedge! Spot on.

  54. Hi Emily. I don't know if I'm going to be able to purchase this doll, but I absolutely love her legs, so...normal. I would change her head though. Good review!

  55. Is there any way you could share a comparison picture of the Lammily doll with a Lottie doll? I know they are different heights and meant to portray different ages. But I would be interested to see how the two "average" body types compared.

    1. That's a great suggestion, Lucy! There are some interesting parallels between these two dolls. I added a few pictures for you under the other body comparisons. :)

  56. Great review, Emily, as always! I enjoyed reading it and many interesting points were raised in the comments. I think there are such strong opinions about this doll because the expectations were pretty high. Many people, me included, love the idea of a fashion doll that looks more natural, has more girth and less spindly legs but this particular one does nothing for me. It does not make me wish for it, fantasize about it, it does not excite me. True, there are worse dolls out there, and we don't criticize them that much, we simply don't buy them. Probably it would have worked better if there was less focus on comparison with Barbie (maybe different scale altogether), the face was more attractive or quirky and the articulation was better. It's not a bad face, (I prefer Mia's face to Style Barbie) but for me "not bad" isn't enough. Also, I don't like the neck area and the lower part of the torso. It's great that Mia has more realistic proportions but as an inanimate object, aesthetic is very important as well. (By contrast, the box art is amazing). I can't imagine many kids choosing Lammily over all other available dolls in frilly dresses or well made trendy outfits. I have a feeling the doll is made to appeal more to parents who are fed up with the representation of girls and women in the media. But it won't be easy to overtake the iconic Barbie armed only with the slogan: "Average is beautiful". You don't make kids eating healthier food by telling them they should eat something because "bland is delicious". You try to make them eat better by making the healthy options tasty and appealing. What does this doll offer to win you over? There are other more interesting dolls that already offer great alternatives to Barbies - Lottie, Hearts for Hearts, Corolle Les Cheries, Paola Reina Las Amigas, American Girl, etc. As all these represent girls, Lammily could have been a representation of an adult in a city life based collection. I can see this doll interacting with other members of the community, kids, animals, riding horses, having different careers, i.e. part of a whole imaginary world. (Somehow she reminds me of these doll house family dolls or Breyer dolls). I understand it's impossible to design a whole collection at once but as a stand alone fashion doll, Lammily doesn't have much to offer. To buy the doll and 2 outfits, it would cost $60-70 + tax and shipping and it does not provide much play value. I agree that a doll does not need an elaborate back-story and a predetermined personality but I don't see this one as a blank canvass either. The face already has a certain expression and the available fashions do not let you create your own character. They are all very one dimensional. And you can have a cuter, better dressed, not thin, simple doll for much less - Our Generation mini dolls for example. Making Lammily too average and comparing it with Barbie might reinforce the idea that attractive, fashionable people are more interesting, fun, and live more exciting life. Same with the cellulite, acne and stretch marks stickers. How do you use them in a pretend play? Playing spa where liposuction procedures are performed? If all cool and acceptable, why easily removable stickers? Won't this make girls think about their imperfect bodies more?
    Although refreshing to have a different option in that doll scale, I just see a doll that's not very exciting and the message I am getting is that I am expected to like it only because it is average and ordinary, just like me.

  57. It was great to see such a detailed review of this doll - and your level of impartiality was an angle that I've been looking for with regard to this doll.

    I'm always on the lookout for new non-heel footed dolls, so I was looking forward to seeing how this one turned out, although I'd been put off by a couple of the same articles that were mentioned above, so I was concerned about how some of that would play out with the packaging and promotion would look like as well.

    It's a shame to see that the joints are such a low point, but great to see that the hair is so thick - and while I'm still not thrilled with the anti-Barbie spin, it's good to read that less of it was coming from the creator himself than some of the interviews had led me to believe.

    I do wonder about the target market though - outfits that are equal (or higher) in cost than the doll itself is more common for collector versus play dolls, yet the base price point and style are more play style. Still, it'll be interesting to see how the line evolves!

  58. It seems like most people really want more "fashionable" (feminine) outfits for her, which makes me kind of sad, because yet again I realize that in the doll world there's no room for androgynous or masculine girls like me. We are not welcome. People may talk big about wanting a more realistic fashion doll that appeals to everybody, but if they aren't feminine no one wants them. What's dumpy or plain to some people is much more appealing to some others. Some girls and women just don't feel comfortable wearing girly clothes and that should be ok, in my opinion. What do you think, Emily?

    1. Yup, this. I love her outfits too, and would have done as a child - I have always tried to redress dolls to be tomboys (in fact I'm hoping some Ken stuff may fit Lammily). Lots of people apparently think that feminine taste is universal. :-/ It's not, not even among little girls. This isn't some sort of wholegrain PC version of Barbie that nobody wants, this is a doll representing *real people* who aren't currently catered for.

    2. Did anyone say they wanted solely feminine clothes? I thought the consensus was more that they wanted a greater variety of clothes to choose from instead of just wardrobe of simple everyday things. So for those who want comfy looking everyday wear they can get that. Or if they they like the super girly over the top outfits they can get that too.

      I think Lammily should have tons of options (particularly for a doll where you're supposed to choose her identity); it would be a rather backwards message if the not-skinny doll could only wear jeans and t-shirts. "Sorry kids but if you're not tall and thin you don't get to wear fancy ball gowns or be a princess."

      Yes, she should have some pants and button downs and other gender neutral clothes. But she should also have skirts, have a doctor's outfit, be able to be a princess or the knight in shining armor. Also, why does fashionable have to equal girly? Can masculine not be fashionable?

      I think she'd look rather nice in this pants suit:

      But that's just my take on it.

    3. Lisa, your comment made me think. I still believe that there is room for all kind of dolls. Sure, some are more popular than others but that popularity is not based solely on femininity, it depends on many other factors like quality, peers, marketing, overall appeal, price, personal taste, etc. And whatever people prefer in the doll world, it's not necessary the same in our human world. Also, what kids like may be totally different from what adults like. I notice this with my daughter who is 5. She is always drawn to dolls with big gowns, the bigger and flashier, the better. Of course, not all girls are like her but for many doll play is sometimes an escape to a fantasy world and the elaborate costumes stimulate the creativity and imagination. I personally think that Lammily outfits are nice but expensive and they look more mature, like something that I would wear. I can not speak for all kids but if my daughter is any indication, she would pick either fashions that nobody she knows would ever wear or clothes that are very similar to her own. But never something that her mom would wear. And I agree that everyone should wear whatever they are comfortable in.
      As for Mia herself, I like her but not enough to go through the trouble of placing an international order. Her face does not speak to me that much.
      Emily, what a great review! Thank you for all the hard work you do!

    4. I like her clothes, but I concede the style may be a *tad* dated. I just realized this doll dresses like my mom. lol. Maybe that's one reason I like her clothes, though. I also like the London and Scotland and New york fashions they're offering. (Barcelona and Denmark, not so much.)

  59. Fashionable does not have to be solely "feminine" and the word does not inherently exclude androgynous or masculine styles. I think that people calling for a more fashionable look are really saying that Lammily's denim on denim style looks dated. As far as I've read, nobody is saying, "Lammily is a girl and should be wearing a dress, not shorts!". That's ridiculous. As another commenter mentioned, her clothes look like they are aimed at a mature audience. I am all for young girls dressing their age, so in no way would I advocate for another doll but I do think she could have come in an outfit that doesn't look straight out of 1991.

  60. I love how this doll is controversial for absolutely no reason whatsoever. It sounds like a lot of people are reading a lot into Lamm's comments that he didn't actually say. Like he said average is beautiful, and people started screaming "WHAT? IS HE SAYING SKINNY PEOPLE AREN"T BEAUTIFUL??" No, it was a comment about unrealistic body types on fashion dolls, not that skinny people aren't beautiful too, or blonde people aren't beautiful, or black people aren't beautiful, or obese people aren't beautiful. He didn't say any of that, but people do seem to be putting a lot of words into his mouth. I like that there is now a doll with a more natural look. I do think he might need to change his slogan, though, since for some reason people are riding it like a wild pony that needs breaking.

    1. Thank you Patti for saying exactly what I think :-)! This doll is over-analyzed, the poor thing, exactly like Barbie has been over the years! Give mr. Lamm a break, he had a very good idea, decided to make it happen, came up with a great way to do so, and had her produced! The press may interpret his words their way, and I read a lot about Lammily the last few days and am convinced that mr. Lamm has the best intentions with his product! It's a play doll, just like Barbie is. And about her outfits: as far as I can see, the clothes represent places where she has been, the overall line looks cohesive to me. I hope the children will like her so she sells well and there will be more variations produced (also a boy perhaps?). Emily, your review was awesome, you always are objective about the dolls you review, your blog is very valuable, thank you for writing it!

    2. I agree, and I also think Barbie has been over-analyzed as well. I played with Barbies as a kid and never felt like I had to look like her.

    3. If it weren't for the controversy, this doll likely would not even it is pretty hard not to make that association.

    4. I respectfully disagree, Anonymous. The reason is because this is not the first doll that's ever come out with a more realistic-looking body. There have been a lot of dolls over the years that had more realistic bodies. One that immediately springs to mind is Tiny Kitty by the Tonner Doll Company. She had beautiful, natural proportions. But she was a higher-priced collectible doll, not a play doll, and when she was introduced, the doll company sold her simply as a nice collector's doll, and didn't compare her with Barbie. So she never got the press Lammily has, but never got the negative comments, either. That's just one example, but I'm sure I can think of more.

  61. Uhh she is a doll. To play with and enjoy. I am looking forward to receiving mine soon. Her shape gives her an inner reality as though she might have organs like heart, lungs. I especially enjoyed the you tube video of the kids happily playing with her. I also see a timeless side to her that would look good in period dress too. I plan to make her some clothes as well to supplement the ones on order.

  62. Loved the review - and I'm really glad to hear that the knee joints loosen up a bit. I've only deboxed mine briefly so far and was disappointed that they only seemed to have one click to them. For the price I was still really impressed though. ...As to the endless criticism Lamm gets, people don't seem to realise that the idea stemmed from an art project - it was public demand that turned him into a doll designer! He was never going to come at the concept from the same angle as a toy company out to make money (and with a PR team to iron out every statement). Re. clothes, a fair bit of vintage Sindy and Jem stuff will fit.

    1. Hiya. The doll's knees have three clicks, according to their Facebook page. They posted on the Facebook page that the knees are stiff coming out of the box, and you might have to bend them at the knees a few times to get them to the third click.

  63. Generally, toys are symbolic. Even toys that are supposed to represent reality are simplified. Dolls are representations of us. None of them will be able to check all the boxes. Rather than mulling over whether Lammily is better for body image, among other things,, I'm much more interested in the question of why dolls are only made and marketed to girls.

  64. I like her quite a bit. Have you heard about the 2015 american girl girl of the year.?Her name is grace, she has blue eyes, dark hair, freckles, side bangs, and the Josefina face mold. Too bad she isn't a doll of color.She looks just like chrissa! Also, will you do a monster high haunted review?

  65. mia's head looks too small for her body, and the proportions all seem wonky. it seems like such a bland doll, and it feels like it's lacking something, but i can't figure out what that is. i feel like this idea could have been executed much more nicely.

  66. This comment has been removed by the author.

  67. Another excellent review! One of the reasons I keep coming back to this blog is the thorough way you review all aspects of a doll, and then provide a comparison to existing lines. Not only does this give readers an indication of what they may like or not like, but it shows other lines in which they may be interested. I've already started checking out some of the other lines you have mentioned from time to time.

    The comments have been extremely interesting as well, whether I agree with someone or not. I am hoping someone from Lammily continued to read them because knowing your current and potential customers is crucial. So many valid pros and cons were raised, and they should not be lost.

    I did order her for a few basic reasons. First, he looked interesting, and I want the marketplace to offer a wide variety of dolls so everyone can find ones that speak to her/him. A good way to ensure that is to support lines that are taking a chance. Second, the company incorporated an essential strategy for a doll with purposefully different dimensions: It is offering a full line of clothing and accessories within a few months (January, from what the website says). As a child myself, part of the fun of dolls was changing clothes and brushing/styling the hair. That seems to still be the case in children I'm around. That's been one of the drawbacks of the Prettie Girls line; no clothes, just (nice!) dolls.

    A challenge the company appears to be having right now is a shipping one. The dolls are being sent directly to customers from China, and tracking information isn't readily available. Promised timelines (three to six days) are not being met; customer service isn't being particularly helpful, perhaps because they don't know anything and no one has come up with a cogent way to deal with the situation; and DHL is the shipper, which has more than its share of bad reviews regarding tracking and delivery. This is probably all part of the growing pains of a new company, and I hope it is all sorted out, like the design issues that other people have mentioned.

    I never thought about buying two dolls in case there were any differences, but I definitely agree that the one was more attractive than the other. That's a slightly disturbing and potentially a source of frustration. Integrity is going through a lot of quality control issues right now from what I've read, and people are returning dolls with problems in the faces and clothing. Another kink to straighten out in the future.

    I'm hoping that my doll makes it through her shipping adventure and arrives soon so I can evaluate her for myself. Waiting patiently is not my strong suit. :-)

  68. Does anyone know if American Girl clothing will fit Lammily or other brands as I am finding the lammily girl clothes to glamours barbieesque I was hoping for more down to earth, jeans and tees, more boyish clothing than dresses.

    1. American Girl dolls are a lot bigger than Lammily - they're 6 inches taller for a start, so definitely can't share clothes. I'm trying to figure out if Ken clothes - at least the tops - will fit my Lammily, I'll let you know if I have any luck.

  69. Wow! I remember reading about this doll's promo pics a while a go and forgot all about it till now, I really like how normal she looks it's so much better then barbie! now I'm thinking of getting one because She almost looks like a real girl, it's nice to see something new.

  70. I hate to post this as I really support the concept of this doll, but the first day we played with her, her left foot fell off immediately. Within half an hour her other foot had fallen off. This was during supervised play and we were walking her on carpet! What has me so disappointed is the company has not responded to my 2 emails! Before buying, look into their return policy....I can't find it on line

  71. I echo the dislike for the agenda and the way this doll has been marketed. Diversity is great and all, but all that Barbie trash talk, the offensive insistence that girls are stupid enough to look to a hunk of plastic for body image and the general "average average average" thing I found distasteful.

    That said, I do like the shape of her legs and arms. Her torso does seem off though. Now i'm not sure if that's that whole optical illusion caused when things get shrunk (shrink anything and the proportions seem iffy to the human brain) or what, but I feel like her body is kinda.. well.. honestly potato shaped. She has these lovely shapely arms and legs and then this spud body with no curve at all, she's boxy and boxy isn't a body shape that's easy to dress and have not look frumpy.
    And I think that's her big problem, in a dress she honestly looks frumpy. Which is a shame. Just the tiniest tweek to her waist/hip region I feel would have given her a bit more shape and made her wardrobe options a little more varied. Dress for your body shape right? her body shape is the hardest to dress. (straight up and down, no real hips, box shaped.)

    I'm wary about her internal joints. I've had too many vintage dolls where that internal structure has failed, snapped, poked through the vinyl or scrunched up the vinyl from wear and tear (creases on the legs and arms, sexy. hah)
    I think I would have preferred proper hinged joints as with most fashion dolls, they allow for more movement for a start and more graceful sitting/riding/lounging etc.

    I find it kinda ironic that after all the Barbie trash talk, she still has better posability than Lammily and that's a shame. Lammily talked the talk about being posable blah blah blah, but sadly doesn't seem to have delivered quite as much as she could have.

    I like her hair, I kinda like her default outfit because it's cute and casual. But I think her faceup is slightly off. She looks constipated to me, there's something in her blank eyes and strange gimmace smile that I don't like. I think she could repaint quite interestingly though, give her a bit of personality.

    I kinda want that plaid fashion pack of hers heh. Do her clothes fit other dolls? I'm curious if she can actually share her wardrobe with vintage sindy and jem and suchforth who are kinda chunkier in body than most modern dolls.

    I honestly cannot see this doll doing well in the mainstream market. She just doesn't stand out enough. She's average and in the toy aisle, average is kinda bland.
    Alongside technicoloured monsters and pink fairy/mermaid/princesses (seriously... wth Mattel?) will a young child really be drawn to Lammily? I'm not convinced. I know a lot of well meaning parents will like her, but what appeals to moms and what appeals to kids aren't always the same thing and at the end of the day, if you can't drive the enthusiasm of the KIDS, your product isn't going to sell well enough.

    I would like to see these in store though, mostly because that selfish part of me wants them to go on clearance so I can pick up a few to repaint/reroot/ooak and have some body diversity with my 1:6 scale dolls. I think she could be a very interesting doll for customs and I look forward to seeing people customise her into something exciting. What she has going for her is inspiring me to want to get my mitts on her and repaint her hahaha, not too many dolls do that these days either because they're fine as they are, or because I see no way to salvage a lacklustre faceup. This one, I think could be interesting with a bit more sass in her expression.

  72. I have always thought that those first initial photos that floated around online that you showed, were not proportional. I don't think this doll is either. I agree...she is off in the torso part. I think that her torso is too short, and so are her legs. If you look where you hands lay on her legs, it doesn't seem the right spot. I am all for someone creating a more realistic, healthy, proportioned doll.....but I think if you are going to do it, actually do it. For me, this doll doesn't really hit the mark. I would jump at buying my daughters a more realistic doll, but this one doesn't make me want to open my wallet. Not sure I would even personally prefer a doll that is disproportionate in this way over a too skinny doll.

  73. I have no idea if you own a modern Skipper, and I doubt they'd be the same size, but something about her shape makes me they resemble each other. I'd be very interested to see a comparison between the two if possible and you don't mind. Thanks. ^^

  74. Wow, she is amazing. Thank you for review, Emily.
    Did you try to look into BJD yosd sized clothing? maybe something in size for Iplehouse KID dolls?

  75. I was hoping you'd post a review of Lammily! First of all, Mr. Lamm had a brilliant idea when he decided to ask you for advice. As a first try, the doll came out as good as could be expected. I hope the project is continued and expanded in the future. I have no intention of getting the first doll because she looks like someone I hate... but with some face choice, I'd love to see diversity in my doll collection. The body looks ok to me. Many people have no waist and hips. The one thing I don't understand is the hip articulation -it NEEDS rotation. I admire Mr. Lamm's idea and courage to go through and I hope he has the patience to take the useful part out of all the criticism and improve on the doll.

    Now something nobody seems to consider. Fashion dolls were designed with the bulk of clothes in mind. They look ridiculous nude because they aren't supposed to be nude. If they are fully dressed, they look normal. They have feet that are smaller than hands so they are easy to dress too. Lammily is better for teaching human anatomy to a child, but her natural proportions are the reason she doesn't have a neck when dressed and she has Minnie Mouse's feet in those black shoes. This is the reality with dolls - they can either look proportioned with or without clothes, but not both ways.

    One last thing: have you tried a j-doll stand with her?

  76. "The stickers represent locations in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, France and the United States. Granted, there's not a lot of room for stickers on this suitcase, but the destinations are decidedly western. What about India, China or South Africa? "
    Because Lammily is just another white doll with poorly articulated limbs, just like Barbie.
    Lammily "can't sit (on the ground or in a chair) without popping the velcro of the shorts"
    But CY Girls (and many of their similar designed female figures, even G.I.Jane) can.
    If her elbow and knee joints were designed to be the same way her shoulder, wrist and ankle joints were, ball joints with visible articulation, I really would've liked her more.
    "If Barbie were a real woman, she'd be intimidating and cold" - Nickolay Lamm
    If anyone's intimidating and cold, it's Raquelle
    Lammily's lack of articulation is clearly visible when the doll is in a sitting position, with the legs bent as far as they can go. The roll over of the vinyl "skin" just looks like, please forgive me, rolls of fat on the back of the knee. This same problem is there with Barbie, Hall of Fame G.I.Joe, and most other dolls with internal ratchet joints with a vinyl overlay of "skin"
    If I could swap out CY Girl style limbs (jointed arms and legs) with Lammily's ratchet jointed vinyl limbs, I'd be far more apt to buy her, if at all. I just don't have any affinity for this doll, not one iota.

  77. I only heard about the Lammily doll 2 days ago. This morning I searched pictures of her and when I saw that she has articulated joints I went straight to the web site. 20 minutes later I had ordered myself one. I was impressed with the $25 price tag. Your review here is long and thorough - thank you, I enjoyed it very much. I can hardly wait to hold her in my arms!

  78. Who is the girl in purple next to your Rapunzel?

    1. To the right of Rapunzel is Winx Club Believix Power Tecna

      To her left is the first wave Clawdeen Wolf. :)

  79. The photos with the doll outdoors are beautiful! She fits right in. The box is gorgeous, I have been hearing about Lammily now and then but this post is the first time I actually see the packaging and final doll. I would have been amazed as a kid to see especially the front painting on the box, it's both pretty and adventurous, and feels inspiring. And she's so sweet-looking. Now I really want to get one of these!

  80. A terrific article about the Lammily doll, thank you.I purchased two in the initial crowd funding and have cut the hair short on one. I am adapting patterns to fit the Lammily doll (my unboxed one is named Matty) and so far have some underwear, shorts and a simple dress pattern on my blog. If you sew at all you are welcome to download a copy. I am working on a ball gown and a school uniform pattern but they are in progress and not online yet.

  81. The thing of Mia, is that not only she enters the "uncanny valley" - she runs into it.

    Some of the diorama photos really look like they could been shot of an actual teenager.

  82. Mia is adorable! In some of the photos outside she looks like a real woman.
    But I have a few complains: She has no articulation in the elbows and knees, she doesn't come with her suitcase, and she needs more colors like plastic bracelets, red stripes on her shoes, some ornaments on her hair... she is a doll after all :)

  83. You know what? Kudos to Lamm for doing this. I know a lot of people will be all like "but Barbies are just to play, boo-hoo", but I don't care. Someone has to show to kids and teens that not being as skinny as a Barbie is very okay, that being what someone is is good and you don't have to be like models to be pretty.

    Mia, for me, is something that could help teenagers that have self-steem problems (like I used to have), by portraying a beautiful doll with an every-day body.

  84. Decent review. However people need to stop blaming dolls for your daughter's lack of self esteem, that's YOUR job as parents. Buying your daughter a poorly sculpted doll will not fix her sense self worth. I'm just glad my parents did some actual parenting and did not resort to having my He-man and GI Joe actions figures replaced with Pot-Belly-Bill, or Dad-Bod-Jim dolls.

    The doll is rather stumpy, unattractive, and far from natural (None of those dolls looked natural). This is more due to the poor sculpting technique than due to the average 19 year old's proportions. Next time they should get a skilled 3D artist to do the sculpt and maybe add more levels of articulation.

  85. Who is the doll in black next to the Midge and Ghoulia?

  86. I personally don´t understand what´s wrong with REALISTIC looking dolls!I think it´s AWESOME that the play can get all the more relaistic with REAL looking dolls, especially for older children. An older example is the Harry Potter dolls, that actually looked like miniature versions of the actors and children LOVED those! I have also heard that children who never even liked to play with dolls before have found the Lammily dolls and actually liked to play with them. For THE VERY REASON that they look more REAL than Barbie dolls and other fashion dolls! The difference in the look of this doll appeal to some kids, not just to feministic minded parents. (As some people seem to think.)Some children LOVE and prefer this Lammily doll over Barbie dolls and oter dolls while others LOVE and prefer the Barbie and other dolls over this Lammily doll. Much of the criticism seem to be about generalizing children and say no child will love or prefer this doll over other types of dolls and it will just be parents pushing it on their children. But children are different individuals too!

    The criticism seems like 90 % Barbie lovers holding on to and defending the Barbie doll more than anything!SO many Barbie lovers are like "Realistic is Boring and not as good as Barbie dolls!" and "Fashion dolls are not MEANT to look realistic (because Barbies doesen´t!)!"

    Also, I think the personality in all the Barbie commercials and the Dream House SHOULD be critizised -NOT JUST her clearly anorectic body! Barbie is promoted as "being perfect"/ always ACTING very nice. It all seems VERY FAKE, her personality, like she has this MASK of a gender norm that she always put on to be "on her best behaviour"! It just looks like she can´t be herself (or real) to me! I think the pressure on young girls to "be perfect" or ALWAYS put up this mask of gender normative BEHAVIOUR is MORE depressing to them! The blonde, white and anorectic beauty ideal is actually just a small part of that bigger picture of "what a woman COULD be, if she´s perfect!". I know most of the critics screams "YOU CAN´T CRITICISE BARBIE!" but I think it´s just nostalgia from playing with many, many barbies when you were a child! Also many seem to feel the need to prove they aren´t weak and don´t have body image issues, defending they way they grew up -with Barbies. But even though Barbie dolls are just a MINOR part, they sure DO play a part! Me and my sister took a look at all the dolls we got to play with as kids -and discovered most of them were Barbies! It´s no mystery where our sudden dissatisfaction with the look of our hair came from! In the kids movies we had there were different hair colours on the princesses and heroines, but we only had one brunette doll and LOADS of Barbie dolls with long, blonde hair. We both wanted longer, blonder hair as children! So yeah, the classic Barbie do have SOME impact on childrens self-image. I can´t deny that andI think it´s stupid to deny children ARE influenced! Nowadays I don´t wish for long, blonde hair or an anorectic waist! But I´m still not going to deny I wished I looked like a Barbie when I was very young. I am also able to take a step back and look at all my old fashion dolls and see that it looks plain depressing that they are ALL made in the same mold of body shape and make up.

    Then I wonder what´s the problem of fashion doll clothes in different sizes that fit different body types? You can learn to sew your own if you think it´s expensive! REAL women have their own sizes in clothes! But if the top that belongs to another doll is long I don´t understand why you can´t borrow/buy that one for the Lammily doll?! Many girls and women LIKE long tops and it´s in fashion too..! Also, if you didn´t know, some healthy, grown women actually HAVE little to no hips! Maybe not the most common body shape, but it´s still not a "weird", unhealthy or unnatural body shape for a woman! Many people don´t seem to get this, but women DO come in MANY DIFFERENT shapes and sizes

  87. I really like the pics of lammily on the beach. those were really nice, very beautiful and encompass her adventurous personality. I personally love barbie dolls and i have no problem with them, and i also love lammily and mr.lamm's idea.

  88. I Think that The Lammily doll is a great idea.