The competition was open for submissions from 30 April 2021 to 7 June 2021. 85 entries from across Malaysia were submitted in two age categories: Category A (5-8 years old) and Category B (9-12 years old). The young hopefuls submitted a range of creative designs all conceived to WOW the judges and showcase their interests and personalities. The Top 20 entries were shortlisted for the Virtual Presentation, where the designers had the opportunity to present their designs to the judging panel composed of Kittie Yiyi, Min Luna, and Elaine Lim, Brand Manager of Mattel Continental Asia.
“It was so wonderful to meet the finalists at the Virtual Presentation and get a peek into their creative process,” said fashion designer, Kittie Yiyi. “I was inspired to see girls as young as 5 years old getting excited about fashion design. It brought back so many memories of when I was little and would sew clothes for my Barbie® dolls. It’s been such a joy to be a part of the journeys that these little designers are taking.”
Khayrah striking poses in her own design made by Kittieyiyi
It was Aleesya Inara, Nina, Khayrah, Alayna, Olivia, and Umaa Meenaa who ultimately impressed the judges and clinched the top spots for fashion mentorship. The six young designers truly embodied the spirit of Barbie® Fashion Reinvention, with their exciting designs and their stellar presentations.
From Category A, Khayrah’s (8) transformational, PPE-inspired gown was a heartfelt tribute to her aunt who is a frontliner; Aleesya Inara’s (7) delightful, doughnut-inspired dress and precocious personality made her stand out; and Nina’s (6) bright and colourful beach outfit was a wonderful explosion of her charisma. From Category B, Alayna (9) told an inspiring story of growth with her elegant, butterfly-inspired dress; Olivia (10) stunned judges with a very fashionable and practical unicorn-inspired number; and Umaa Meenaa (11) presented a gorgeous, galaxy-inspired creation, demonstrating a skilful use of shapes and silhouettes.
Aleesya striking poses in her own design made by Kittieyiyi
The mentorship was originally planned as in-person experiences, but the brand made the decision to bring the mentorship online in order to keep both winners and mentors safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each winner was sent a customised designer kit equipped with everything they needed to help them really sink their teeth into their craft. Their afternoon with Min Luna was all about looking inward, finding their confidence, and learning about their personal style. They spent the next day with Kittie Yiyi who taught them about the ins and outs of the fashion industry while helping them work on creating Barbie®-sized versions of their designs for their dolls.
Alayna striking poses in her own design made by Kittieyiyi
“It’s been such a special experience to spend this time with the girls during such a formative period in their lives,” said fashion stylist, Min Luna. “I remember struggling with confidence when I was around their age, so it has been such a rewarding opportunity to encourage and instil some confidence in them. They are all so unique and have so much to offer; it is a gift to be a part of igniting that spark within them that I hope will continue to burn bright for the rest of their lives.”
Olivia striking poses in her own design made by Kittieyiyi
The campaign culminated in an online Fashion Showcase in which the six winners got to strut their stuff in their designs. Kittie Yiyi and her team worked wonders despite the restrictions of the government mandated Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO), and managed to realise the six winning dresses designed by the winners. The young designers walked down the hallways and living rooms of their homes, striking poses, and owning the proverbial runway, adorned in their creations brought to life.
Umaa striking poses in her own design made by Kittieyiyi
“Mattel is so honoured to play a part in these young girls realising their fashion dreams,” said Elaine Lim, Brand Manager, Mattel Continental Asia. “We are especially proud to be able to offer an avenue to unite and encourage young ones to pursue their passions while they are home. Barbie® has always been an inspiration, and we believe that this experience will stay with these girls for years to come and continue to empower kids to be anything they want to be.”
To continue the celebration of the Fashion Reinvention Campaign, the brand has announced the launch of Sundays with Barbie®, an episodic livestream series featuring women who are positive role models for young ones. Barbie® had fashion gurus, Kittie Yiyi and Min Luna, championing the topic of creativity; fashion entrepreneur, Veen Dee Tan, sharing about confidence and self-expression as well as fashion models, Nalisa Alia Amin and Sonya Danita Charles, discussing diversity and self-acceptance. Each of them with insights to share about the unique way fashion can be used as a tool of empowerment.
To find out more about Barbie®, check out her Facebook [OfficialBarbieSEA], Instagram [@barbie], or YouTube channel [@barbie].