22 | SEP | 2019
Designer speaks out after Day of the Dead Barbie sparks criticism
The doll will be launched on September 12 - Photo: Paul Jordan/EFE

Designer speaks out after Day of the Dead Barbie sparks criticism

08/09/2019
12:19
Mexico City
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Some social media users called Mattel out for cultural appropriation

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Javier Meabe, the designer behind the new Day of the Dead Barbie, said he hopes that the doll contributes to expanding this tradition and that it reflects the “love and respect” it was made with.

In a phone interview with news agency EFE, Meabe said that Mattel wanted to pay homage to the Day of the Dead because “is such an important festivity for many people and it represents tradition, celebration, and family.”

The designer said that in order to design the doll, he did a lot of research and that as a Mexican-American, he also celebrates the Day of the Dead, so he already knew about the celebration “but I wanted to make sure I had the most knowledge available before I designed it,” he said.

He emphasized that “each decision was made with love and respect” towards Mexican culture and added that “being Mexican-American, I know how important this tradition is and the responsibility it implies to represent this culture, so it wasn't taken lightly. I just hope that people know how much love we put into this doll and how much respect we have for the Day of the Dead.”

Meabe also said that he hopes the doll “will expand the awareness about the Day of the Dead even more and introduce the tradition to home and families” that don't celebrate this date.

He said that “it was a huge honor for me to design the first doll of the Day of the Dead collection, which has a great place in my heart. And I'm very excited for people to have this doll” and that he hopes that people love the doll.

On August 27, Mattel announced the launch of its new Barbie doll for the Day of the Dead, which will pay homage “to Mexico, its party, its symbols, and its people.”

The U.S. company said that the Day of the Dead Barbie resembles a traditional character, La Catrina, an elegant skull created by cartoonist José Guadalupe Posada in 1912 and known as an icon of the Day of the Dead in Mexico and the world.

“Her dress is long, embroidered, decorated with flowers, and butterflies. The final touch is completed with a crown featuring the iconic monarch butterflies and the cempasúchil flower to honor the symbols and the offerings of this emblematic Mexican tradition,” the company said.

When asked if Mattel and Barbie plan to pay homage to other Mexican figures, Meabe said that “there will be surprising things soon.”

The Barbie will be officially launched on September 12.

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