After reading the discussion about the very likely possibility of Monster High coming to an end very soon...it got me thinking about how little there is in terms of fashion dolls lately, especially when compared to the past.
I keep hoping a new and exciting doll line is going to come out, but I've never put an awful lot of thought into what those dolls might be.
Personally, there's nothing in the market for me right now that will fill an MH sized hole in my collector heart, DC Superhero girls are cool but I only like the 'basic' core dolls, and only a couple of characters so I'm excited to see if they'll make more characters I'm into in doll form (Hawkgirl, Raven, Black canary, to name a few). The WWE girls are cool, but I've never been into WWE, and nothing else "speaks" to me.
So I thought of asking you guys, what would be your ideal new doll line to be released once MH is over and dead? What would be the basic idea of the line? What would the characters be like? What kind of dolls would they be? And what would make them unique in comparison to past doll lines??
For me personally, I'd need some kind of magical/supernatural theme...'ordinary girls' is cool and all, but it doesn't pull me in. I'd need a story of some sort, whether that's a book series, webisodes, tv show etc to pull me in and get me involved in the characters. The dolls would need to articulated, or at least very detailed if not.
Aside from those specifications I've not thought much about it.
How about you?? What would you LOVE to see?
Did somebody say make your own doll line?
I've actually made a few ideas for new lines in the past few years. The biggest one was called Absolutely U and it was built around a modern university that taught magic. The lead character was Norah, a black science prodigy who gets invited to the university for her intelligence. She shared a dorm with athlete Marley, journalist Sienna and fashion designer Valeri, who all learn more about their own individual talents in addition to joining the secretive world of magic, in an effort to create further innovation but to also ward off the forces of dark magic. It had a huge ensemble cast of students with all kinds of talents - academics, sports, the arts, etc. This included ethnic diversity and canon LGBT+ representation.
A year or so ago, I made an attempt to relaunch the line by making new artwork and creating new characters. I even made a snazzy website to go along with it:
Because I couldn't commit to anything, the whole thing eventually fizzled out. But I would have loved to continue the line. I had a great idea for the second year - a dark sorcerer creates an opposing group of evil students, or 'darklings' who would make up a competing army. The students of AU would band together to create unique weapons to fend off the darklings (the whole idea was that the darklings had no individuality as they were created just to fight, whereas AU students are all about individuality). It also involved fierce armor. I would have loved to design those outfits.
That was basically a doll line without the dolls - but I liked to imagine a doll line too. The outfits would have been more 'realistic', like ordinary girls (and there would be boys too, of course), and all of the outfits would be separate pieces because mix-and-match fashion is everything. They would have great posability and different face molds, preferably different body types too (original, short and tall for heights, and curvy versions of all of those) but that might get a bit too much! I would have also had some form of media, like a web series or some books. The second year arc ("Dawn of the Darklings") would have been a mini-series like the later Ever After High movies.
I'll probably never get any further with Absolutely U but I still love looking back at it.
Now, if I had to start a new line today, I would love to combine the theme of STEAM with super heroes - a group of female heroes that don't have super powers, but do have super smarts and create awesome tech suits and weapons. They would have secret super identities and costumes, but also have regular names and outfits. I'd preferably like each one to have their own body type, and have sturdy but versatile articulation (like what you see with DC Superhero Girls). It would be based around two main characters who form the team:
They would make friends with three other girls that complete the team:
Trista would be friends with a male fashion designer who helps create the tech suits.
The series would have both a half-hour television series and a book series, both set in the same canon. The dolls would also come with 'mission files' in lieu of diaries.
Wow! That's really expansive! I love it!!
Thanks! I like to overdevelop things :)
Fully articulated dragons that dolls can actually ride...incredible is an understatement.
I'd like to see something do what Bratz did in the early 2000s. Show up and totally blow the industry UP lol.
I don't fully believe Bratz have a place in the modern world, we've gone past the decadent "Noughties" to the austere Teens, i'm not convinced something so "buy buy material girl whoooo!" really works in the current world climate.
Still, I would like to see MGA back on the doll scene because unlike Mattel, they always were willing to 1: listen to their fans and 2: actually take big risks.
Sometimes it was a bit crazy and bizarre and troll lol lol but you know, they tried.
Even if half the time I felt like they were taking the micky.
I'd like to see more escapism because I think in this world climate where everything is so scary, kids need and crave full escape.
Now supernatural colourful monster girls might be a fad that's done, but how about something else? Monsters have kinda had their day, that sort of supernatural horror is a bit old hat now.
I'd love to see some historical fantasy (hah, I can dream of medieval fantasy dolls right?) or something cyberpunky or spacey. Mmm cyberpunk dolls... those could be awesome.
Either way, i think fantasy but maybe more grounded realistic fantasy (urban fantasy?) or future fantasy (space opera?) would be cool. Something different but also something that would let kids just ESCAPE this awful world for a bit.
You know, no war, no prejudice, just happy friendship adventure times. *sigh*
As it is though, I feel like playline is just kinda done for me. Right now it's all a bit too uninspired or babyish. I'm pouring my attention into bjds right now, cheap bjds because the blank slate and creative aspect appeals to me. You paint them, you design their clothing, you decide their wigs and eyes and you make them totally and completely unique and personal and I love that.
I know Spinmaster and MGA and even Hasbro to an extent tried this in playline (liv, moxie teenz, lorafina) but never really had that much success for various reasons, but ooo spinmaster, please come back into the playline market!
I think the big issue with playline atm is there just isn't any competition. It's a one horse race, Mattel vs Mattel vs Mattel. MGA are out, Spinmaster are out, Hasbro's kinda noodling away in a corner on the disney dolls which let's face it, are never competition for anything ever. There just isn't anything NEW or innovative to set Mattel a quaking and we NEED to light a fire under Mattel's butt.
They're too complacent. And it's lead to market stagnation.
I made up my own doll line ages ago but dropped it because I couldn't imagine it ever working but I'll post it here anyway;
The line was called "Sisters of the Moon"
It was pretty generic as it was a line based on Witches but was more inspired by actual Pagan Witchcraft than Sabrina or Charmed style Witches, I wanted to mix in cultural folklore with a doll line by creating characters that echoed certain aspects of different traditions.
The first wave would have been four characters, all representing the four elements that are revered in many neopagan traditions in order to flesh out their personalities.
- A mothering, 'bossy'/assertive strong girl who was associated with the element of Earth, she's a driven character with set goals on becoming a successful entrepreneur. She would be tall, tan, long dark and wavy hair and hazel eyes. Her style would be quite neat and sophisticated for a teen. Colour scheme being all Earth tones; reds, browns, greens etc.
- A highly sensitive and caring girl who values her friends above anything, representing the element of Water. She would be timid and shy but a force to be reckoned with when angered. Short, cute, pale skin and light coloured hair, her style would be very 'sweet'...50's inspired dresses with lots of interesting patterns. Blue colour scheme mostly with bluey-greens and white.
- A fierce fashionista who's creative and independent, representing fire. Dark skin, deep red braids, heavy makeup and an artist in every sense of the word...very Cleo DeNile fused with Clawdeen kind of character. She would wear things you wouldn't expect an ordinary teen to weat, extravagant dresses and stylish suits just for everyday wear. Her colour scheme would obviously be flamey with reds, oranges, yellows and even some blues.
- A hippie, free spirited girl representing air. Airy fairy 'Luna Lovegood' type of character who would rather sit in a field blowing dandelions or meditating than talk about her problems. She would be very bohemian in style, with wavy light brunette hair, long features, thin and tall and awkward looking. But also holds an elegance and wears a lot of flowing fabrics. Whites, light blues, pastel colours would fill her colour scheme.
Yes they would be a coven of teen Witches but much more reminiscent of the Secret Circle books style Witches than of say Bratzillaz etc.
They would for the most part be just ordinary girls who just happen to be Witches, the line would promote 'mundane magics' that all people naturally have...those little things you can do and are good at without really trying.
Then different lines would focus on really expanding on the witchiness...
- A "Solstice Styles' collection where each girl is in a stylized robe or cloak, with an elegant ritual dress, masks based on images such as the green man, stags, foxes etc. Maybe with glow in the dark patterns on the dresses and cloaks.
- A 'Goddess Inside' line where each girl is in a goddess-inspired outfit, outfits inspired by Isis, Athena, Ceridwen etc.
- 'Secret Spells' line very reminiscent of the old 'secret spells' Barbie line, with gimmicky 'mundane' outfits that you can transform into elegant witchy gowns...kind of thing.
- A crystal line where each girl comes in an outfit inspired by a birth stone, a necklace for the buyer to wear with that stone on it, and a little booklet on the various metaphysical and spiritual properties of crystals.
- A 'Halloween' line with each girl in a different witchy style costume...hats, capes, very halloween-y.
It was kind of a spur of the moment idea, and I imagined the girls would come with diaries that detail their beginnings as a coven, and also explaining the basics of magic, spirituality etc.
But, I kinda dropped the idea because it was hard to design characters for...it's really hard to make a series for a young audience where the characters are 'Witches' without havy Harry Potter-esque cauldrons, goblins, broomsticks, pointed hats, and wands. Idk.
I love that idea! The character development is excellent.
oh my god i would kill to be hired by you if it was an actual thing
i love designing and learned how to do 3D and develop my traditional art in college, so I used to want to be hired by Mattel for Monster High, but I don't want to have anything to do with them anymore