Born in 1959, Barbie is one of the world’s best-loved and well-known dolls, along with her rival Sindy.
Over 700 million Barbie dolls with the enviable “hourglass” figure have now been sold and each day somewhere in the world, two Barbie’s are bought every second.
A huge variety of accessories and outfits have also been produced – Barbie has her own cars, a house, a horse, a swimming pool and, of course, a boyfriend called Ken who first appeared on the scene in 1961. To enhance her fashionable image, hundreds of different outfits have been produced for her including swimwear, ball gowns, business suits, disco outfits, nightwear and even wedding dresses, providing a visual history of American fashion spanning almost forty years.
Still as popular and ageless today as she was in 1959, Barbie has proved her lasting appeal to more than one generation of fashion-doll lovers.
Despite (or perhaps because of) the success of Barbie, Pedigree Soft Toys launched Sindy in 1963, aiming to prove there was a market for another fashion doll.
Like Barbie, Sindy came equipped with a wardrobe of clothes and accessories, reflecting the 1960’s real- life fashion revolution. This miniature personality doll represented a break from Pedigree tradition in that she had side-glancing eyes (before this, all their dolls had sleeping eyes). Her clothes were contemporary and, at first, were changed three times a year to keep up with fashion.
She had a boyfriend Paul (modelled on the most popular Beatle Paul McCartney) as well as a little sister Patch, a pony, a house and a kitten. She was involved in many activities and always had the correct outfit and accessories. Over the years, she underwent several changes of image, with modifications to her face, hairstyle and hair colour and a jointed body and head were introduced to give her mobility.
In 1987, Hasbro took over the production of Sindy and she was “re-cycled” yet again, this time available only with blonde hair. Within the past few years a “Swimming Sindy” and a “Talk With Me” Sindy have been introduced. Well over 30 years after her original launch, sales of Sindy are still brisk – very few personality dolls have managed to last the test of time as she has.