The State of Barbie Playline 2015

Over the past few years, Barbie playline has been getting a lot of complaints from collectors. Namely, poor quality. We were once able to utilize these fashions in our collection without cheapening it.  I really enjoy adding “Chic and Cheap” elements to my dolls’ wardrobe. Asian facemolds are a passion of mine and playline was also a great place to find them. This year, Mattel overhauled playline.  Since 2015 is almost over now, I think it’s time to ask:   

Is there anything for the thrifty collector in the Barbie playline these days? 

So far, I would say a hesitant "Yes".

  • Nice Fashions and accessories. The release of individual and group fashion packs  this year have been promising. The looks are current/stylish, not ALL pink, quality is decent and the price is reasonable. These fashions have been popping up on dolls all over flickr. It's fun to see how others mix & match them. Also, I love that they work well for so many other doll body types.
  • The Barbie Style line continues with trendy fashions that are comparable to last year. New this year are articulated ankle joints that allow the dolls to wear heels and flats. (This comes at the expense of the torso joint though. ) An additional AA doll has been added, Grace. (from the discontinued, SIS line)
  • This year the fashionista line was revamped with diverse facemolds, skintones and hairstyles. It's wonderful to see new and different faces.  
  • Some of the furniture thus far has been decent. It comes unassembled in the box which is great for those of us that like to repaint. Favorites have been the daybed and kitchen table set. Small accessory packs haven’t made to store shelves everywhere yet. But they also hold promise.  

The BAD:
  • NO articulation for the inexpensive fashionista dolls. This is a real shame as the headmolds are so cute!  Any doll I like instantly becomes a re-body project. The only reason I haven't listed this as the worst thing this year is because of price. (These dolls are selling for $7.97 at Walmart.) Retail price for these dolls is about $10-$12 USD.
  • Most of the dolls, with the exception of the Style line, have a stiff, hollow-legged body that resembles a curvier model-muse. Some dolls have elbow and wrist joints; such as the Resort and Stylin’ Friends lines. Dolls that can't sit down are no fun for kids or grown-ups IMHO.
  • Fashions are of slightly reduced quality from last year. Mattel has been using a print-on fabric style that cheapens the looks. Solid color backs on printed clothing are still being used. All I can say about this is that, surprisingly, these fashions photograph a lot better than they look in-person. So, at least it’s still fun to take pictures.*shrug*  

  • Molded on hair (for ken), molded on swimsuits (for the ladies) and molded on outfits for Chelsea dolls. :-(    
  • Quality Control is still an issue. There’s a lot of inconsistency and flaws in the dolls on the shelf. Some of what I’ve seen: “wonky eyes”, missing paint e.g. lips, eyebrows.   
  • At present, fashionista availability is spotty. Some dolls are sold out and hard to find already. (Fetching high prices on eBay) There’s been a lot of promotion but not the distribution to support the hype. I hope that changes soon.
What are your thoughts on the 2015 Barbie Playline?  Where would you put the "good, bad and ugly" on the list?


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