Collectible Barbie dolls are familiar to almost everyone and come in a wide array of styles. From beach themes to high fashion themes, Barbie portrays almost every interest and profession. These mass manufactured toys are sold at major retailers and specialty shops. They are still very much a common plaything especially for young girls. Due to the length of Barbie's popularity and the wide array of styles she sports, the toy has become a popular collectible. As a continuation of this trend, designers have taken these models from their origins and created a unique art form.
Designers begin with boxed toys and transform them into valuable (one of a kind) OOAK Barbie dolls. They begin the process by removing the paint from the face and the factory hair. They are left with an original body that can be worked with until an entirely original vision is achieved. The artist chooses the color and style of the makeup and hair. They recreate the doll in the fashion that suits the look they desire to achieve.
Customized clothing is created to give each model a haute couture appearance. Famous designs from well known fashion industry figures may be reproduced. Extreme detail distinguishes and elevates the dolls. Beading is the most popular feature among consumers. Each item is tediously hand beaded. It is not uncommon for one model to consume two weeks of work time as the bead seeds are applied. It is the attention to detail that separates these collections from more amateur creations.
The design of individual accessories adds to the quality of uniqueness of each Barbie. Collectible dolls feature earrings, necklaces, hair pieces, and pocket books. Even the smallest clutch is meticulously planned and executed. Genuine crystals and jewels are often used on the most exclusive designs.
Enthusiasts may specialize in collector Barbie dolls or include them in a wider toy collection. Often, collectors also have an interest in beauty pageants. They may be involved in the organizing or judging of pageants. Dolls that portray contestants are a popular choice. Collections are created around the pageant theme. Especially unique and prized collections carry models that represent states just as in national pageantry.
Virtual pageants conduct judging of these collections. They are scored on elements similar to the way an actual competition would be conducted. The models wear different ensembles and have their hair styled to suit each phase. Winners of these contests win prizes such as a sash and crown, cash, or discounts off future purchases. They also enjoy having been the purchaser of the eventual recipient of the highest honors.
Barbie doll artists create and sell figures through several venues. Catalogues, print and online sites, display the lines an artist or company has available. Sometimes commissioned works are created for conventions as limited edition collectibles. Collector's conventions are a prime marketing and networking event in this industry. Online connections have made it possible for even more people to participate in collecting and pageants.
OOAK Barbies are able to interpret what a desirable look is without being dependent on popular culture. Greater experimentation with expression and social statement is available. Different cultures and ethnic groups can be represented physically and in fashion expression. These art pieces reflect the more global and inclusive mindset of present culture. Adults who were not able to acquire toys of this variety as children may find this particularly appealing.
Emotional nostalgia or aspiration is usually the motivation for collectors of these types of items. Those who were fans of these types of toys in their youth may enjoy the memories that are conjured. Others who are passionate about the pageant, fashion, or beauty industry will also find these items appealing. The skill and artistry that creators of these collections bring to their work elevates the complexity of their ability to comment on society. Collector Barbies are a niche market that appeals on an emotional and aesthetic level.