Mattel’s continued efforts to diversify their Barbie dolls is evident in the latest collection that was released in honor of Black History Month. This time they collaborated with Bermudan stylist and creative consultant Shiona Turini, the costumer designer on the 2019 film Queen & Slim, to come up with more than 20 looks in a four-part collection.
“I’ll never forget being in New York as a young black girl and finding a Black Barbie, and especially a Black Barbie birthday set,” Turini told PEOPLE. “Barbie is a historic brand that was inclusive before it was trendy.”
The line features a range of skin tones, and hairstyles including braids and afros, as well as a doll in a wheelchair. For one of the collections she was inspired by the original Black Barbie (1980) who wore a sparkly red dress with an afro. “That was the basis for this image,” Turini told PEOPLE. “We decided to have her on her throne with the other dolls dressed in her likeness, also in the red to support her.”
There’s also a monochromatic collection that emulates a “sherbet, ice-creamy feeling” she said, and the all-black collection drew inspiration from Black activists.
She was inspired by the costumes from Queen & Slim for the fourth collection: “When I worked on the movie ‘Queen & Slim’ the stand-out, ‘hero’ look for me was mixing snakeskin and tiger prints in the same look,” Barbie Style quoted her on Instagram. “The contrast of the two patterns completely subverts expectations, and I was excited to use the same formula on pieces such as Barbie’s thigh-high boots to break the traditional mold of dolls I had grown up playing with.”
As we’ve seen with the Frida, La Catrina, and the recent release of vitiligo and hairless Barbie, it’s important that ALL people feel seen. “Representation matters and I’m so grateful to be a part of this moment,” she told CR Fashion Book.