Barbie dolls are regaining popularity thanks to a new range with different skin colours and flat shoes instead of high heels.
Sales of Barbie dolls had been falling rapidly, with children preferring electronic toys or dolls from the Frozen films and parents expressing concerns about the narrow portrayal of women.
But shops have begun increasing their orders since the creation of a more ”diverse” range of dolls earlier this year, the company said.
The so-called Barbie Style doll went on sale at £20 in the spring with an articulated ankle joint. Until now then, all dolls had worn high heels due to the shape of Barbie’s foot. For the first time since they were created 56 years ago, children can put the dolls in flat shoes.
Mattel, the company behind the brand, says the move ”reflects trends on the catwalk” where trainers are in fashion. The move has also won praise from feminist campaigners for giving a more realistic portrayal of how women dress.
Among the 23 different ”Fashionista” dolls, on sale for £8 since July, children can choose between eight skin tones, 14 facial structures, 23 hairstyles, 23 hair colors and 18 eye colors.
A spokesman for Mintel said: ”Barbie is constantly evolving to stay relevant to the current generation of children and the diversity is a reflection of what girls see in the classroom and around them.”
The company said retailers had increased their orders and it had received a ”great reaction” from parents. A rise in sales is expected in the company’s next set of sales figures released in the autumn.