design icons/Barbie fashion doll, 1959

Barbie was unveiled at the New York Toy Fair in 1959 and took the world by storm. Over 351,000 dolls were sold in the first year alone and as the decades have passed, Barbie has remained an inspiration to millions of girls across the globe.

What began as a fashion doll has now evolved into a living brand that both mirrors and inspires cultural shifts and has celebrated girls and women over the years.

Barbie has had over 90 careers including astronaut, doctor and even presidential candidate and has represented over 75 nationalities. Over one billion Barbie dolls have now been sold with both adults and children collecting her in record numbers. Today she remains one of the hottest selling toys in the world.





American businessperson Ruth Handler (1916 – 2002) changed the face of the toy industry with her introduction of the Barbie doll in 1959. Co – founder of the Mattel toy company, Handler was also noted for her marketing innovations. She later went on to a successful second career in the prosthetic breast business. At the time of Handler’s death, there had been over a billion Barbies sold in 150 countries.


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