We’ve all heard it: Barbie the movie is out in cinemas and with the extensive marketing behind the Barbie trend phenomenon, all we see on social media is people's obsession over dolls, Margot Robbie and the hot pink aesthetic.
When you hear the name Barbie, what comes to mind? Most likely, it's images of bubblegum pink, '80s fashion, and hyper-feminine clothing. That's what the "Barbiecore" trend is all about: It's not just about the colour pink itself, but the saturation and the amount used in your outfit. In fact, a single pink item won't be enough; instead, a monochromatic or two-toned look, all inspired by the bold hue are more appropriate when taking inspiration from Barbie herself. This means that, in order to embody Barbiecore, you need to go all out!
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The phenomenon has been a trend on the rise since the 2022 Valentino Fall runway show debuted last March. Named Valentino Pink PP, after the fashion house's creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli, stars have graced everything from red carpets to festival stages in the popular pigment. Since 2019, hundreds of Barbiecore Pinterest boards have been created, and most recently, the term has been trending on TikTok with billions of views. Last July, there was even a high search volume for hot pink fashion-related items on Etsy, with a 35% increase in the preceding three months compared to 2021, according to Good Morning America.
The appeal of Barbiecore
The appeal of the Barbiecore trend goes beyond the movie stars and taps into the psychology of Barbie herself. As a beloved toy for generations, Barbie's iconic status and longevity make her a symbol of femininity, beauty and aspiration, and a powerful ally for diversity, equity, and inclusion. She has undergone various transformations, reflecting cultural, fashion, and societal changes, and her adaptability has made her an endearing figure for people of different ages and backgrounds.
The Barbiecore trend offers a nostalgic escape from the mundane realities of adulthood, allowing individuals to immerse themselves in a fantasy world of bright colours, femininity, and glamour. It creates a sense of community among like-minded individuals, while triggering positive childhood memories and emotions.
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The issue with Barbiecore
However, Barbie's production and use of plastic materials raise concerns about plastic waste and pollution, and her extensive range of accessories and merchandise promotes excessive consumerism and materialism. In fact, a whopping 1 billion pieces of synthetic clothing have been made for Barbie and her friends since 1959, that is for the dolls, no movie stars included. The good news is that Mattel is aware of their plastic issues and it aims to use 100 percent recycled, recyclable, or bio-based plastic in its toys and packaging by 2030. Unfortunately, that might be too late considering that they have sold over a billion Barbie dolls already.
Furthermore, Barbie's lack of diversity in terms of body types, ethnic backgrounds, and physical abilities has been a source of contention, alienating those who don't see themselves represented in her world. While Mattel has made efforts to address these criticisms by introducing more diverse dolls and promoting positive messaging, the Barbiecore trend continues to be a subject of debate as it embodies a highly stereotyped femininity.
[info sourced on psychology.fashion, barbiefastfacts.com and people.com]