Harlem Fashion Row Partners With Barbie

Harlem Fashion Row Partners With Barbie

The fashion industry meets the toy manufacturing industry in recent inclusivity initiatives. Harlem Fashion Row has revealed a Black History Month collaboration with Barbie and three designers of color. The partnership highlights a clothing capsule of doll-sized replicas of designers Hanifa, Richfresh, and Kimberly Goldson’s collections.

Brandice Daniel, the founder of Harlem Fashion Row, is to be thanked for the partnership with Barbie and for choosing such designers. 

“Since its inception, Barbie has been a right of passage, an impression of self-awareness for young girls everywhere,” Daniel said in a press release. 

“Now, more than ever, Barbie celebrates our differences, and I’m excited that HFR gets to play a part in widely diversifying their style too.”

Brandice Daniel also explained why she specifically chose the three designers for the project. 

“We had worked with each of these designers on separate projects previously and all of them bring a very different, [unique] perspective[…]that we thought would be incredible for the Barbie style platform,” Daniel said in an interview with ESSENCE.

The doll inspired by Hanifa wears a replica of a design from her 2021 Fall/Winter collection, designed by Anifa Mvuemba. Kimberly Goldson’s doll wears a dress from its sister-owned label’s 2022 Spring/Summer line. Richfresh took a different approach with his doll modeling a tracksuit inspired by his muse August McQueen.

It was important to HFR and the designers to collaborate to celebrate the differences and uplift young black children.

“It’s important for kids of all cultures to see themselves. Representation is vital. Involving black creatives gives us the opportunity to contribute to the narrative. The significance of doing this during Black history month is important, but what’s more important is the continued efforts to involve creatives from all backgrounds to help represent themselves within the Barbie Universe,” Patrick Henry, the designer behind Richfresh, said in a press release.

HFR remains true to its mission to bridge the gap between brands and designers of color in the industry. The Barbie project is not the organization’s first collaboration; they have also collaborated with American Girl in the past.

In addition to their Barbie collab, HFR is also auctioning these dolls. Proceeds will go to their non-profit organization #ICON360 to provide financial resources and professional development to Black designers and HBCU fashion programs.

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