So In Style (S.I.S.) Barbie Dolls, Mattel

Big S.I.S., Little S.I.S. - Barbie dolls from Mattel's new line called So In Style. Photos courtesy of Mattel

Every little girl aspires to be Barbie. Why? Because she has everything!

From fab clothes and a hot guy to a smokin' pink convertible and dream house -- when it comes to Barbie, the sky's the limit.

But many African-American girls look at the doll with her long, blonde hair and perfect life, and don't see themselves.

Stacey McBride-Irby wants to change this.

As a Barbie designer of 12 years and mother of two, the self-proclaimed "intrapreneur" saw the potential for diversity within Mattel and started her "passion project" in the summer of 2007.

"I was inspired by my 6-year-old daughter," McBride-Irby told StyleList. "I wanted something that looked like her and other girls in the African-American community."

The final product: So In Style (S.I.S.), black Barbie dolls with fuller lips, a wider nose, distinctive cheek bones and curlier hair.
So In Style features "Grace," "Kara" and "Trichelle" -- three best friends who are all "about fashion, fun, and friendship" -- as well as, "little sisters," who aspire to be like the older dolls.

Their personalities come through in their unique sense of style and interests which include art, music, math and science. And each is dipped in different shades to represent the various complexions of Black women.

"We went through several testing with moms, daughters, magazine editors and prominent women within the African-American community," McBride-Irby explained to us.

"They loved the new facial sculpture, but the standout criticism was a need for more dolls with curlier hair to let girls know that's fine."

So In Style Barbies introduce girls to the new Aqua curl technology, giving them the freedom to curl, straighten and style the dolls' hair with styling tools and a spray bottle they can fill with water.

"This is the first time we're using the Aqua curl fiber," McBride-Irby told StyleList. "Girls can spray hair with water and create curls with a plastic curler and comb. There's no extra chemicals needed to do this. That's why it's so magical!"

S.I.S. dolls are available now at mass retailers nationwide and on BarbieCollector.com.

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