Saturday, December 30, 2023

Style Bae by Just Play

Happy New Year's Eve eve!  The December Virtual Garage Sale event was a great success, so thank you to everyone who made a purchase and helped support the blog.  Now I feel ready for 2024!  There are a few higher-priced dolls that didn't sell, understandably, and so I'll probably move those to eBay at some point.  For now, I'm enjoying a break from packing and shipping so that I can do some writing and animal wrangling.

This will be my last review of 2023, and I had a hard time figuring out which doll should hold that special place.  I contemplated some rarer, more expensive goodies, but in the end opted for a relatively simple and affordable playline doll.  It's been a month since I've written a review, so I figured this would be a good way to ease back into things.  Also, the doll I'm going to talk about today is unlike anything I've ever owned.  She's from a line called Style Bae, and is made by Just Play:

Style Bae Harper by Just Play, $19.99.

The Style Bae dolls have taken some elements of paper dolls--namely the flat body and two-dimensional clothing--and paired that with a rounded head and long, rooted hair.  It's a very strange, but also very unique idea.  And you know how much I love it when unique things show up on the doll market.

There are other variations on paper dolls available right now, like Melissa & Doug's wooden dolls with magnetic clothing:

That looks like fun.
That looks like even more fun.
And Colorforms flat dolls with sticker-like vinyl outfits:

I used to play with Colorforms!
There are also vintage Flatsy dolls by Ideal that have some things, like flat bodies and rooted hair, in common with the Style Bae girls:

But the Flatsys have more conventional fabric clothing and bendable limbs.

The Style Bae brand offers a new type of paper doll hybrid.  They're basically flat plastic dolls with hair like the Flatsys, and stick-on vinyl clothing that works a bit like Colorforms.  

The brand name feels dated to me (is "bae" still popular slang?), and it makes no reference to the flatness of the dolls, but that's not a big deal--just a missed opportunity.  I'd love to know what other name ideas were considered at Just Play before they caved to the somewhat generic Style Bae moniker.  Flatshion Friends, perhaps?  Plane Janes?  Plateau Girls?  Stick Figure Stylies?  Miss Nebraska?  Who knows.

There are currently four different characters in the Style Bae line: Harper, Kenzie, Dylan, and Kiki.

Harper.
Kenzie.
Dylan.
Kiki.
Kenzie and Kiki appear to be the most popular, judging by the fact that they're harder to find on sale.  Harper and Dylan can be found for around $15.

I like Kenzie's hair and fashion style best, but Harper and Dylan's price was hard to beat, so I'll feature Harper in this review and then briefly compare her to Dylan.

Harper came in a bright cardboard window box covered with bold text and images.  The presentation feels over-the-top to me
 
I feel like the box is shouting at me.
Not everything about the box is bad, though.  The tagline for this brand is "fashions that stick," which is clever:


And there's a graphic representation of Harper in the lower corner of the box that looks pretty and matches the character well:


It must be hard to come up with doll names, but I feel like Harper is overused.  I can think of at least four other Harper dolls off the top of my head.  It's an extremely popular baby name in the United States right now, which might explain the choice.  I wish Harper been named something really different like Elora (the name of my most recent Patron!).

The back of the box is also cluttered with text and images.  There's a large photo of Harper with her wardrobe, and then smaller pictures demonstrating the basics of how the stick-on clothing works:


Harper herself is described as a streetwear queen:


The top and bottom of the cardboard box open, which allows a backdrop to slide out:


Harper comes packed alongside a small pink plastic brush:


I like the style of the backdrop art.  I wish the rest of the box had that kind of simple, sweet design.  Perhaps thinking about paper dolls makes me subconsciously want everything about the Style Baes to be simple and sweet?  Hm.

There's also a pamphlet with assembly instructions and more information about the sticker clothing:


Harper's accessories are stored neatly inside a recessed area on the opposite side of the backdrop:

Ahhh!  Look at all of those plastic ties!
The plastic ties were actually quite easy to cut, and I was able to de-box Harper quickly.

Here's everything that was in the box:


In addition to her stick-on wardrobe, Harper comes with a purple stand, pieces to make a clothing rack, and a small bag of accessories:


The plastic clothing rack was easy to assemble, but it's lightweight and not very sturdy:

A light wind will blow that thing over.
Harper's accessories include earrings, barrettes, bracelets, belts, necklaces, hair elastics, a headband, a phone, and a tool for scraping off the sticker outfits.  All of the plastic accessories are either gold, purple, or neon pink:


Here's everything arranged so that you can see all of the pieces more clearly:


Harper's most exciting accessory is her clothing, and she comes with a lot of it!  There are seven different outfits, all arranged on cardboard hangers:

That looks like six, but there are actually seven.
These all hang nicely on the clothing rack, but again, the rack is flimsy, and so it can fall over pretty easily--especially with the added weight of the clothes.


Harper can't balance on her own because of her thin, unarticulated body, but her purple stand works well.  Unlike the clothing rack, Harper feels quite solid on her feet when she's slotted into the stand:


The stand has two braces that accommodate ridged plastic tabs on the backs of Harper's feet:


So she snaps securely into place:


It's a good system, and I appreciate having a doll who always stands up on her own!

Here's a shot of Harper from the back, right out of the box, so you can see the plastic that secured her long hair:


I understand the need to secure the hair, but those plastic things are such a pain to remove.  Getting that off was the hardest part of the de-boxing experience.

From the side, you can really see how strange Harper's physique is!

What physique?
She comes wearing an outfit, but it's not actually a reusable sticker outfit.  It's a one-piece cardboard cover that's intended only for box display:


The cardboard doesn't quite cover all of Harper's body, so you can see the edges of her shoulders peeking out at the top:


The cardboard outfit is decorated with a vinyl belt and matching vinyl necklace:


Everything was easy to remove:


If you like the look of the cardboard outfit, never fear: that exact same style is replicated in one of Harper's re-usable sticker ensembles.

Underneath the cardboard outfit, Harper has a purple painted underwear set:


Her long crimped hair hides the back of her body quite well:


But behind the hair you can see that the back side of her body is purple, not flesh-toned, and has a molded, repetitive pattern with the word "bae:"

Except for some reason the backs of her hands are skin-colored.
In contrast to her strange body, Harper has a conventional fashion doll head with three-dimensional features and long rooted hair:


Like most fashion dolls these days, Harper has very large eyes, a tiny nose, and an oversized mouth.  She has painted upper and lower lashes and some glittery purple eyeshadow.  Her reddish eyebrows have faint hair detail that is smudged in a few places:


Harper's lips are painted bright pink and have a bit of an upward turn at the edges, giving her a vaguely happy countenance.

Overall, the faceup is good.  The paint is clear and the colors are vivid.  There's no pixelation whatsoever. The face is a little generic and exaggerated, but that's my biggest complaint.

I can see the family resemblance between Harper and some other Just Play offerings, like Fashion Lay Lay or the Hairmazing Hairdorables:


She's probably most similar to the budget Hairmazing dolls, like this one:


I wanted to get a better look at Harper's hair, but she came with a pair of purple sunglasses tied to her head:


The sunglasses left behind some black thread residue that I had to pick out of the hair:


Harper's hair looks pretty, with those auburn highlights and fun texture.  It's not the softest doll hair on the market, but it feels good.


I was a little nervous to brush the hair, and actually waited until I'd taken all of the other pictures I wanted for the review before attempting it, but I needn't have worried.  The hair brushes out very nicely, and the crimps stay in tact:


The rooting is decent, too:


Incidentally, the purple sunglasses that I cut out of Harper's hair fit over her nose and ears securely and look good:

If a little crooked.
Harper only has one point of articulation: her neck.  And the joint is only capable of rotation, so she can turn her head, but not lift it up or down.


I certainly wasn't expecting this style of doll to be well-articulated, but I'll admit that it feels limiting to have a doll that can only move her head from side to side.

Why did they make the back of her body purple??
With her stand, Harper is eleven inches tall, so a bit shorter than a Barbie doll like Lena:

Style Bae Harper (left) and Barbie Lena (right).
I read that it's possible to put the Style Bae heads on Made to Move bodies.  I haven't tried that myself, but it makes sense given the similarity in size.  I have no desire to swap Harper's head onto another body since that would ruin the most unique thing about her.  But for anyone who doesn't like or grows tired of the sticker clothing idea, it could be a good solution.
 
Okay!  Now it's time to explore Harper's wardrobe!  I'll confess that it can get a little tedious to dress and undress all of the different dolls that I review, so I was excited to try out this new, seemingly simple clothing system.


Each of Harper's seven outfits comes arranged on a shiny piece of cardboard with a hanger at the top.  The cardboard isn't especially thick or sturdy, so it needs to be treated with care, especially in the narrower hook area.


The pamphlet that came with Harper explains how to remove the clothing from the card and how to use the sticker tool to smooth the clothing once it's on Harper's body:


I tried to pull the fuzzy shirt off with my fingers, but it was difficult.  So, following the directions, I got out the sticker tool and tried to slide it under the shirt.  Unfortunately, the edges of the tool are too thick to wedge in underneath the clothing.


When I loosened an edge with my fingernail, I was able to use the sticker tool to pry off the rest of the shirt...

Like flipping a pancake.
But in the end I found it easier to just use my fingernails to remove the clothes from the card.

The clothing has a shiny white backing that adheres really well to the smooth plastic of Harper's body:


I didn't need the sticker tool to smooth the clothing down, either.  I just slapped it on and it looked fine:


Each outfit comes with a few smaller stickers, but I wasn't immediately sure what I was supposed to do with those, so I just applied the larger pieces:


It was refreshingly easy to get Harper dressed!


It's hard to be perfectly precise with the sticker application, though, especially on the legs.  You can see a bit of skin peeking out around the socks and shoes:


The box suggests that these dolls would be good for children four years old and up, but I'd worry that the precision needed to apply things like the shoes could frustrate a four or five-year-old.

Also, when comparing Harper to other paper doll alternatives, I'm stuck by how she seems much more geared towards a teen audience.  The clothing and aesthetic of the brand is not meant for younger kids.

Several of Harper's outfits come with a small rectangular sticker that I realized is meant to be used with the plastic phone:


Here's the plastic phone by itself:


It has a flat screen area and then a large handle on the back:

Everything says "bae" on it.
And the sticker fits nicely onto the flat surface:

Case in point.
Harper can hold her phone by sliding the handle over either hand:


That's pretty cute!  I added in a gold headband to complete the look:


The only problem with the first outfit is that the purple fuzz sheds, especially at the unfinished edges of the fabric:


Once you're finished with an outfit, it can be placed back onto the cardboard hanger and will stick to that surface securely.  And you can slap the clothes onto the hanger in any way you want, which is nice if you're in a hurry or writing a long review:

I already lost the phone cover.
Harper's second outfit is the one that matches what she was wearing in the box:


The pieces are similar to the first outfit (top, mini skirt, shoes) and there's another phone cover, too.

Looks better than the cardboard version.
I tried to add in some plastic accessories with this outfit, but the barrettes are fiddly and don't stay in place very well:


This is better:


I feel like the three dimensional plastic accessories--especially the belts and longer necklaces--clutter the outfit, and they're harder to use than the sticker clothes.


It would have been fun to have some belts and jewelry that are flat and sticky, to match the rest of the clothing.

Here's the third outfit:


I like the design of the layered top in this set, but the mini skirts are getting repetitive.


The fourth outfit also has a mini skirt, and a lot of random decals:


I like the casual, sporty style here, and I think this is the only shirt that isn't layered:


I especially like the butterfly shoes!


I was playing around with the extra stickers in this set and realized that with certain items of clothing, the little decals can be used to change the design.  Like I can cover up the "Bae 16" on this shirt with the "SB" decal:

Or mostly cover it up, anyway.
The crown sticker is a little big for the shirt, but it adheres to Harper's head, which is...interesting:


Harper's fifth outfit has shorts!  It's nice to have a different type of clothing:

And another forehead crown.
The shorts look good, but require slightly more precision in their placement than the skirts.


The sixth outfit has another mini skirt and another layered top:

Ho hum.
These shoes have butterflies on them, too, which is cute.  I guess Harper likes butterflies!


This card also has a pair of sunglasses:


The glasses don't fit very well on Harper's face:


But I can make it look like she has them clipped onto her shirt:


Or she can hold them in her had:


The last outfit has a pair of jeans (yay!) and another layered athletic top:


I really like how the jeans look: 


The ripped areas on the jeans are made out of transparent plastic, so Harper's actual legs show through.

I like the sneakers, too.  They have to be tucked underneath the bottom of the pant legs for a more realistic look.


The music decal in this set is one of the more useful extra stickers, and can be used to decorate the plain white shirt:

T-rebel.
I like this combination of Harper's clothing pieces:


As I was dressing Harper, I was conscious of the fact that the stickers pick up lint really easily.  They also stick to the doll's hair.  This made me wonder how long the adhesion will last.  Can this toy stand the test of time?

I deliberately tried to get one of Harper's phone covers dirty, by rubbing it on the carpet and on my clothing (and a dog).  It still stuck to Harper's hand at first...


But then fell off a few seconds later:


You can see how much dust and lint was on the back of the phone:

Gross.
The pamphlet that comes with Harper explains that if the stickers get dirty like this, you can clean them with a strip of tape.  I tried this, and it worked really well!

Pretty much all of the lint came off after one pass with generic brand clear tape, and the phone adheres well again:


I'm impressed by the number of outfits that Harper comes with, and she has a fairly cohesive style and color palette.  This makes mixing and matching different fashions a lot of fun. I wish there was a bit more variety in the type of pieces, like skirts of different lengths, a dress, or more pant options.  I also wish that any accessories not meant for the head (things like belts and necklaces) had been made out of the same flat sticky material as the clothing.  I like how some of the random decals can be used to decorate certain clothes, but a few conventional accessories would have been great in this format, too.

I'm not sure how suitable these dolls are for younger kids, since the clothing requires precision in its placement and the smaller decals are easy to lose.  But the toy definitely has similar play value to what you'd get with a paper doll, and is great for quickly and easily trying out lots of different outfit combinations.


I was curious to see what the variety of clothing and accessories was like for a different character in this series, so I purchased Dylan, too:


Dylan has a medium skin tone and long blonde hair.  She's described as being the "Y2K Gurl."


The Y2K reference combined with the dated use of "bae" makes me wonder if these dolls are intentionally throwbacks to the early 2000s?  I checked the descriptions of the other two characters, and Kiki is the "K-pop princess," and Kenzie is a "pop punk star."  K-pop certainly had a surge of popularity in the early 2000s, but pop-punk is more of a 70s thing, as far as I know, so I'm still a bit confused.

Anyway, Dylan comes with seven outfits and a pile of plastic accessories, but her color scheme is slightly different than Harper's:


Dylan's clothing rack is hot pink, and her plastic accessories are a mix of baby blue, gold, and hot pink:


Dylan's in-box look includes tons of butterfly accessories.  So I guess Harper isn't the only one who likes these insects!

Butterfly Bae.
Dylan's hair has a slightly wavy texture with no crimps, so it's easier to gauge the quality of the fiber:


The hair is silky-smooth at the top, but has coarse ends.  It feels like medium-grade nylon, which is fine.  I'd be curious to feel the hair on the other two characters, Kenzie and Kiki, because they both have poker-straight hair.

Dylan has a pink underwear set underneath her clothing, and a much lighter skin tone than Harper. The two dolls are posed in exactly the same position, which is necessary if they're going to share clothing:


I won't go into detail analyzing Dylan's wardrobe, but here's a quick look at her outfits:

Those plaid pants are great.
Once again, there are a lot of mini skirts and layered tops...and a ton of butterflies!

How about the slit on that denim skirt at the far left?
There are certainly some pieces here that give Dylan a different style than Harper, but there are also a lot of things that are similar between the two girls.

This is my favorite look for Dylan, with butterflies everywhere:


I especially like the little ice cream cone that she can hold:


I searched the internet to see if butterflies have anything to do with Y2K, and indeed they do!  I guess butterfly fashion became popular during that time, and has made a comeback in recent years.

Harper can wear all of Dylan's fashions, so having two of these dolls gives you massive mixing and matching potential.

Here's Harper wearing Dylan's butterfly earrings and one of her tops: 

I really like that top.
The shades or temperatures of color in Dylan's wardrobe are slightly different from Harper's.  For instance, the blue in Dylan's jacket, below, doesn't go particularly well with Harper's blue shorts:


Still, having a lot of clothing for these dolls is great.  I hope Just Play releases affordable outfit packs in the near future.  Themed packs would be especially fun (like holidays outfits, prom dresses, Halloween costumes, etc), and could broaden the appeal and play potential of the line.

Here's Harper back in her own clothing for a few more photos:


Even though I'm not crazy about the plastic accessories as a whole, I do enjoy Harper's gold earrings, headband, and necklace:


With her single point of articulation, Harper isn't the most interesting doll to photograph, but her hair is dramatic and fun to play with:


She can't really be photographed from different angles, either, since her flat frame and purple backing quickly become visible:



And from the side, she looks like a head on a stick!

Lollipop girl!
But the plentiful mix of wardrobe pieces compensates a bit for the lack of poseability.


And her shape certainly makes Harper a uniquely interesting addition to the doll market.


Bottom line?  I think the idea behind Just Play's new Style Bae line is really great.  These flat teens and their extensive, stick-on wardrobes are certainly bringing something new to the current doll scene.  I was very excited to try out the easy outfit changes and fashion combinations that these dolls offer, and for the most part wasn't disappointed with the experience.  As always, though, there are a few things that I would tweak.

First of all, although I didn't expect much articulation with these dolls, I wish that the heads had better mobility.  If you only have one joint to work with, make it a good one.  The absence of articulation also puts a lot of focus on the dolls' hair.  While the hair fiber feels pleasant at the top, it has coarse ends that detract from the overall smoothness.  Rainbow High has really raised the bar with doll hair, so I'm probably being pickier than I need to be.  Another thing is that I feel like the plastic accessories that are meant to be worn on the head (things like sunglasses, earrings, and short necklaces) work best.  Items for the body, like belts, longer necklaces, and bracelets, might have looked better and been easier to use if they'd been stickers.  And that kind of item would have made more sense to me than some of the random decals that are included.  The number of clothing pieces in each set is great, but I wish that there was more variety in the types of clothing offered.  Harper has a lot of mini skirts and layered shirts, and several of her pieces have similar designs.  Again, this could easily be mitigated by offering a bunch of affordable clothing packs.  Two other small complaints are that while the clothing rack is an important accessory, it's lightweight and flimsy, and falls over too easily--especially when it's laden with clothes.  Also, the cardboard hangers that hold the clothing are thin, and can get bent or creased even with careful use.

My final critique of these dolls is harder to put into words.  I basically feel like they have an identity problem.  They have this vague early 2000s vibe, with the Y2K references and some of the fashions, but the connection doesn't feel solid to me.  The strange product name, name placement overload, frantic box art, pile of plastic accessories, predictably big-eyed head design, and glitzy makeup come together to make a toy that, for me, feels scattered and over-the-top in ways that lessen the impact of the central idea.  It's like the company didn't feel confident with their concept, so they threw a bunch of generic stuff on top of it so that they could blend in with all of the other fashion dolls.  I'd have been very interested, both as a collector and as a parent, to see this line whole-heartedly embrace the nostalgia of paper dolls.  If the branding and the design of the dolls themselves had been more subtle and versatile, a broader range of outfits could have been be included: everything from Y2K trends to something from the Regency era...when paper dolls were first invented.  That would have expanded the appeal, play potential, and even educational value of the product.

But that's me over-thinking things, as usual.  For $20 ($15 on sale), these dolls are a lot of fun.  They have reasonably appealing faces, hair that's pleasant to play with, and a generous supply of clothing.  As anticipated, I found the dressing and undressing experience to be refreshingly easy, especially after years of wrestling with various kinds of fabric doll clothing.  During this review I was reminded of a period during my childhood when I really enjoyed playing with Colorforms.  I liked how that toy allowed me to create and re-arrange little scenes over and over again, with simple clean-up and a minimal storage requirement.  The Style Bae girls offer that same satisfying play mechanic, and can amass truly impressive wardrobes that easily fit inside a shoe box or large envelope.

The Style Bae girls are more like fashion mannequins than play dolls, and so they will appeal most to kids and adults who enjoy the process of planning and changing outfits.  For that reason, I feel like the long-term success of this line will depend on how quickly Just Play can add outfit packs to the mix, and of course the quality and variety of those packs.  While we wait to see what's next for Harper and her friends, I'm content to enjoy the novelty of these dolls, and tip my hat to Just Play for giving the centuries-old concept of paper dolls a modern new twist.

14 comments:

  1. Harper kind of gives me Clawdeen vibes with her purple and gold color palette, and the faux fur and animal prints on some of her pieces. Of course, it's not like they can share clothes at all... I really wish I could find fabric with that cute purple camo print in 1/6 scale, though!

    I think a really clever idea for these dolls would be to have a simple program that would let you customize clothes for them, and then have sticker paper you could print the clothes out on. I remember having a similar program for making Barbie clothes as a kid. It would make them kind of like a real-world version of those Flash dress-up games.

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  2. I had the magnetic dolls growing up and I adored them! The clothing was interchangeable and we had SO MANY dolls. Great review! Personally, the flat body and round head is a little creepy for me but I can see a 7 year old loving it. Happy New Year!!

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  3. These are much more fun than I thought they would be. I have been passing them by in the toy aisles without a second glance, but I think I may pick one up after your review. If nothing else, they would be an interesting contrast to other dolls in my collection!

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  4. I had those exact melissa & doug magnetic dolls when i was little. It was a struggle not to lose the shoes and my mom later turned the box tray into a sock organizer.

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  5. I saw several reviews for these dolls from people who missed the point entirely and were just listing rebody options. On the contrary, even though the heads are pretty, I think the body and clothing idea is the best thing about them. I would even look for other heads with damaged bodies to create more characters. I wonder how MyScene heads fit? And of course, an option to design our own clothes easily is vital for this line.

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  6. The snort I made at 'Case in point'...

    I feel like paper dolls mainly moved to being an online activity, what with the seemingly infinite number of websites devoted to dress-up games. It's nice to see a new angle (flat tho it may be) being applied here!

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  7. To me pop punk is like… Green Day, Blink 182, Good Charlotte… a lot of overlap with emo music too, so definitely fits the early 00’s theme

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  8. Miss Nebraska!!!
    The photos from the side are so surreal. I think these dolls would have been more harmonized if the heads were flatter too. They probbably could have found a way to make the dolls more semi-3D like Flatsy if they wanted vinyl heads and rooted hair, or else, the whole doll should have been one flat plastic piece. This is just bizarre...but admittedly, I'm glad someone tried it because I love weird, weird toys that don't totally come together

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  9. Your review is great; but to be very honest, the dolls don't sound like much fun, and as a child I would have found them miserably frustrating and definitely not worth their price. Also, I really hate the name Harper and don't understand why it suddenly became so popular.

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  10. Happy (somewhat late) New Year, Emily!!

    These dolls are just so interesting. I think they have nice faces and very pretty hair, but your critique about them seemingly having an identity crisis is really on point. The whole concept is super cool and unique, and I think I would've loved to have these as a kid, but you can almost picture the fear on Just Play executives' faces when confronted with an idea that strains just a little too far from MGA aesthetics. I wish they had taken even more of a risk. I also love the textured clothing pieces, they add something realistic to the outfits. Should Just Play release more Style Bae products, I think fashion packs with lots of textured stickers could do really well.

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  11. They remind me so much of the Lookin’ Pretty doll line by Rose Art in the late 80’s/early 90’s! Similar concept with color form type clothes, but I believe they were smaller. They come up sometimes on ebay, and I’ve debated getting one for nostalgia a time or two. I may have to try these baes out!

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  12. I am always happy to see a paper doll type thing enter the market. I think that you're right- the great thing about paper dolls (as a paper doll creator, I admit openly to be being biased here) is that variety of clothing you can have in comparison to a physical doll. So, I think the challenge is- how do you make sure the clothing has the variety. Along with the early 2000s references, I think the dolls are intentionally calling back to things like Star Doll. The challenge with anything like this is to hit the nostalgia market, but also be appealing to actual kids. I'll be curious to see if this line is successful. I'm so happy you reviewed them.

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  13. What a strange, unique doll! My initial reaction was like your lovely assistant Lena's, but once I got used to it, I can understand making them a bit different with hair.

    Spot on with that comparison to paper dolls or colour forms, I could see a certain kind of kid having a blast with these. They also put me in mind if the massive plethora of flash based (I think?) dress up doll sites in the early 00s!

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  14. Dylan's "Y2K" thing is kind of a throwback to the 2000s, but i feel like she's more likely referencing the current Y2K *trend* rather than directly referencing the 2000s. It's been the 20 years since 2000 for the twenty-year-nostalgia to kick in, and "Y2K" fashion is INCREDIBLY trendy among teens right now (seriously, its all over TikTok (not that I go on there ever) and other social media frequented by teens). It seems to me that Dylan is trying to capitalize on the already existing trendy nostalgia more than trying to actually reference the early 2000s.

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