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Barbiecore, feminism & microtrends

Barbiecore fashion outfits on three models

With the upcoming release of Barbie movie, Barbie fashion is taking over social media feeds. With a doll-like aesthetic, joyful shapes & famously shocking Barbie pink, this style makes one of the most dopamine-popping microtrends.

Sadly, as you might know fashion trends that last a short time, have a horrible impact on our environment and often our perception of belonging. So let's look at the good and bad side of Barbiecore.

A brief history of Barbiecore

Since hitting the shelves in 1959, Barbie became a style outlet for many kids and collectors around the world. It's not surprising that fashion was a big part of Barbie, seeing as she was originally designed as 'teenage fashion model'. For me personally, my dolls were a way to tap into my creativity and that's also when I started sewing clothes, even as small-scale models it was the beginning of my fashion design journey.

However, the trend of truly dressing in Barbiecore didn't become mainstream until the 2000s with the rise of celebrity style. With Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, and Britney Spears being featured in magazines around the world, they quickly became style icons for many women & girls. So did their outfits - often pink, sparkly, hyper-feminine and sometimes revealing. This trend continued with Ariana Grande and probably the most iconic - Nicky Minaj, who practically personified the plastic doll in her early appearances.

Even luxury designers leaned into this aesthetic: Valentino with the shocking pink with their March 2022 collection & Moschino's modern Barbie looks from 2015. But this colour grazed the runways much before that thanks to Elsa Schiaparelli, who made the intense magenta her signature colour in 1937.

Regardless of this, Barbiecore faced a lot of criticism when the era of "I'm not like other girls" and women competing for respect started portraying Barbiecore and similar aesthetics as a toxic symbol of the shallow and dumb girls, who only exist for male gaze. This combined with often narrow representation consisting of mostly thin, white and wealthy women made a lot of people question the inclusivity of the trend.

Why Barbiecore is so appealing to women

A few months ago I watched an incredible video by Mina Le explaining the hype around hyperfemininity. This was not only a great explanation of the phenomenon but also challenged the perception of Bimbocore and Barbiecore through the lenses of internalised misogyny.

For the longest time being called bimbo, Barbie or even doll-face was not a compliment as it referred to low intelligence and superficial personality, which often came as a product of objectification of women. I myself as a teenager was guilty of this and often refused to wear pink just to differentiate myself from the girls in magazines, unknowingly fitting into the toxic perception that we as women have to compete for male respect.

Women in high positions or with higher education are being expected to refuse the hyperfeminine fashion to be respected like a man (or even to look like one). Legally Blonde was actually a pretty perfect commentary on the issue.

So that's when Barbiecore mixes with feminism.

Barbiecore is a rejection of this pressure to avoid girliness in order to get taken seriously by guys – and it comes with a feeling of feminine power. - The Take

It's not a surprise that Barbie movie is directed by a feminist filmmaker Greta Gerwig, as it touches on the issue we always experienced - the inequality of feminine and masculine symbols.

That's why so many women, who also often speak out about political inequalities and socio-economical issues, choose to dress in Barbiecore - to battle the perception of their role in the world.

The impact of a fashion trend

I admire the incredibly positive impact styles like Barbiecore have on feminism, but sadly it is a microtrend after all, with 416% increase in searches for pink clothing around the time Barbie movie is being promoted. Based on the short life of microtrends, sped up by social media, I can imagine that shortly after the hype around the movie dies down, so will the Barbiecore hashtag and Barbie-inspired influencer outfits.

Microtrends have only become prominent in the fashion industry with the rise of TikTok, as the algorithm allows millions of people to see the same video showing off a certain style - The Crismon

With 1. 92 million tonnes of textiles waste being produced every year and the life of each garment getting shorter and shorter, it's important to restrain from buying simply to fit into the trend. Companies like Shien contribute significantly to microtrends by mass-producing trendy outfits in great volumes just to fill the momentary demand. As you can imagine, the clothes won't be produced ethically or sustainably, all simply to monetize our need to fit in and trend-orientated mindset.

But just because some marketing guru profits from your interest, this doesn't mean it's not a good opportunity for you to educate yourself about the trend's origin, expand your style and simply enjoy fashion. If you struggle with pursuing trends - wait before you purchase. See if you still love the shocking pink minidress when people already talk about the next big thing.

Seeing as throughout history there always was an outlet for hyper femininity, under one name or another, this surely will return under a new name at some point. The most important part of mindful shopping is not to follow trends, but your own style. Do you like pink clothes? Do you like sparkly dresses? Is it something that will genuinely make you happy next year? And the year after that...?

If so - do it! Even when Barbiecore surely comes to its end on social media, your clothes will still be with you and they will still mean the same much to you.

Our sustainable take on Barbiecore

Model wearing pink mini dress

At Rose Corps we don't believe in trends, because we love clothes that are part of our whole life and not just one highlight reel. But we can truly recognize that this is an eye-opener for a lot of women who finally feel empowered to express their feminine side.

That's why we now offer a limited edition pink colour to help you with that.

But for us sustainability always comes first - so we chose not to produce any Barbiecore clothes, instead, we opted for digitally created previews of what our existing clothes would look like in this colour - and we won't create anything that doesn't have a loving forever home waiting.

If you feel like Barbiecore represents your personal style- you can now order selected designs in vivid magenta tones (while the dye stocks last). The dye is low-impact, water safe & non-toxic, and unlike Barbie - we are plastic-free.


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