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Story

LCF grads Alice Khor and Symela Fotiadi are selected by Vogue to re-imagine Barbie and her Dreamhouse for 2020

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Barbie dreamhouse
Barbie dreamhouse
Barbie dreamhouse
Written by
J Tilley
Published date
13 August 2020

"As an ethnic minority designer, I am so honoured to be paired with the gorgeous black vitiligo Barbie. I saw the collaboration as an important opportunity to promote diversity and inclusivity. I believe that the modern-day woman would find empowerment in unique designs with a back story." Alice Khor

For 2020, Vogue in partnership with Barbie, have re-imagined Barbie's Dreamhouse inspired and led by 10 female creatives. Class of 2020 graduates Alice Khor and Symela Fotiadi from BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Development were chosen to design an outfit each that best reflects the Barbie of today and we caught up with them to find out how they tackled the challenge and how they became inspired by Barbie throughout her 60 years.

Alice Khor
Who is Barbie to you?

I have a fond memory of a Barbie children’s book called “What Shall I Be?”(published in 1999) It featured Barbie having various occupations, one of which was a fashion designer. This was the very first time I was introduced to fashion designing. Therefore, as a child, Barbie represented the endless possibilities of who I can be.

You were approached for this exciting project and asked to redesign Barbie to reflect the current day woman – where did you start with the design process? What did you think about?

As an ethnic minority designer, I am so honoured to be paired with the gorgeous black vitiligo Barbie. I saw the collaboration as an important opportunity to promote diversity and inclusivity. I believe that the modern-day woman would find empowerment in unique designs with a back story.

Apart from creating miniature versions of pieces from my graduate collection, I also designed and made several new pieces specially for my Barbie. I picked colours from my palette that can really accentuate her skin tones. I wanted black vitiligo Barbie to look stunning and proud, standing for an underrepresented group.

Did you find anything particularly challenging about the project?

Finding alternative ways to realise my designs that were originally meant to be laser cut! Working from home with no access to laser cutters, I managed to develop a hand-soldering technique that created a similar effect. Thank god for steady hands!

Symela Fotiadi

Who is Barbie to you?

As a kid I believed that Barbie could be anyone and she could do anything she wanted so I would make a storyline and then spend hours by changing their clothes, drawing on them, cutting g and dying their hair to make them look completely different from when I bought them- most of them would end up destroyed. Seeing the evolution of Barbie today, I still believe the same.

You were approached for this exciting project and asked to redesign Barbie to reflect the current day woman – where did you start with the design process? What did you think about?

For my Final Major Project my muse was my grandmother because during the 60’s she took the bold decision to work in construction to raise her 5 kids by herself. She inspired me a lot in the way I see the modern woman today: strong, free and unapologetic. These keywords were the starting point of my design process for Barbie, while at the same time I tried to keep the elements of construction and sculptural aesthetic that characterize my designs.

Did you find anything particularly challenging about the project?

Adapting my sculptural techniques on such a small scale was definitely the most challenging part of the project.