Hollywood-Loved Brand Unique Vintage Expands Body-Positive Barbie Collab
"Unique Vintage strives to provide fabulous clothing for every woman, and we wanted to bring Barbie's spirit of empowerment and representation to this collection," says CEO Katie Echeverry.
In honor of the 60th anniversary of Barbie this month, Burbank-based clothing brand Unique Vintage is offering consumers the chance to wear the very first-ever Barbie outfit: the iconic 1959 striped one-piece chevron bathing suit. The Barbie x Unique Vintage collection, available on Unique Vintage’s site starting March 18, includes other swim classics, such as the doll’s 1971 light blue Malibu Barbie swimsuit as well as wardrobe selections from the '50s and '60s including the 1959 red-and-white gingham picnic blouse and dark blue denim capri pants, and the 1966 pink "fashion luncheon" sheath dress and matching jacket.
When the company launched the collaboration a year ago, offering the classic doll’s fashion sets reimagined in contemporary clothing to fit real women’s bodies, the brand never expected it to sell as well as it has. Unique Vintage — which cites design inspiration from “iconic female heroines” such as Audrey Hepburn, Eartha Kitt and Marlene Dietrich — has been popular with Hollywood stars such as Chrissy Metz, Nina Dobrev and Zooey Deschanel and models Tess Holliday, and the Barbie collaboration has proven to be unusually successful.
Adhering closely to the design, details and fabrics of the original miniature clothes down to touches such as lace and tulle trim, recreations of Barbie’s classics have sold well online, bumping Unique Vintage’s sales up approximately 30 percent since last year, according to the company.
Catering to the nostalgia of adults who always wished that Barbie’s classic outfits came in their size may not be the only reason for the popularity. Perhaps the real appeal is the fact that the collection, which comes in sizes 2-26, is in line with body positivity efforts.
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model Hunter McGrady has worn the Barbie x Unique Vintage letterman sweater, as documented on her Instagram page. Simply put, the sartorial inclusivity around a toy, with proportions famously criticized for being unrealistic, is resonating with influencers.
"Since her creation, Barbie has represented women who can be and do anything they want," Unique Vintage CEO and creative director Katie Echeverry told The Hollywood Reporter. "Unique Vintage strives to provide fabulous clothing for every woman, and we wanted to bring Barbie's spirit of empowerment and representation to this collection. It’s not about looking a certain way. Every woman, no matter her size, deserves to feel confident and gorgeous as herself."