• Mayte Sonnenberg

Día de Los Muertos Barbies

On September 8, 2022, Mattel released the “Día de Los Muertos” Barbie. Javier Meabe has designed for all 4 years, with an impressive 7 dolls in total. This year a total of 3 dolls were produced. The Barbie and the Ken doll were a must, but the 3rd was a collaboration with Benito Santos. All are covered in very detailed designs, showing vibrant colors and the beautiful meanings behind the designs. The dolls themselves sold out in a matter of minutes-- Benito Santos sold out in 4 minutes.

This year being the 4th of designing The Día De Los Muertos Dolls, Javier Meabe has some skill behind him. I had an interview with Meabe, to find out just what it's like to design some of the most popular dolls Mattel produced. To also get a glimpse into the feeling and emotions behind the dolls themselves. “The inspo behind the dolls was definitely Tradition. I used elements like marigolds, sugar skulls and traditional icons that I knew were important to the Día De Muertos tradition-- that I knew collectors and people from the Latino community would recognize.”

Javier, being a part of the Latino community himself, took the representation of the dolls personally. These dolls have represented a plethora of important characteristics in the rich tradition and culture.

The 2021 Día De Muertos Drop was of 2 dolls, but why 3 this year? Meabe reported: “We wanted to do 3 dolls because we wanted to have 2 of them be the ‘Main Line Dolls’ and then we wanted to have the opportunity to highlight a Mexican designer who also celebrates the holiday.” Javier additionally wants to “add a voice to Mexican designers”.

By collaborating with another designer, it's allowed so many more people to, not only view the dolls but love and appreciate them. A big part of the dolls is creativity. It takes a strong team to come up with such gorgeous designs. Meabe affirms this notion when asked if he gets help on the project, “There is a huge team that helps, and I initially work on the conception and trend board.”. He has additionally mentioned that a lot of thought goes into these. They want to have fun working on them, but also want to make sure to keep up the traditions and honor them respectfully. He often gets ahead of the game by planning for the next up-and-coming dolls, whether that be by looking at fashion trends or simply checking the explore page on Instagram.

When I asked my uncle if there were going to be more years of these gorgeous barbies… his response was“ You have to stay tuned and stay to find out.” I will note, towards the end of the interview, I had asked “Do you already have plans for next year's dolls?” and Meabe’s response was “I do… I write down things that inspire me-- I’ll make a folder either on my phone or computer, and then I pull from there for next season.” So does that mean more years to come? We’ll have to wait to find out.

There is a lot of effort and thought that goes into these dolls. So many people can be involved with the barbies, whether it's the designer himself, the people who paint those little details on their faces, or even the people who Meabe has worked with overseas.

The Barbie and Ken dolls always amaze so many different people, every year. They show the real heritage behind the Holiday-- real significance and real design talent.


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