Ken doll gets a makeover: Mattel unveils new body types, skin tones, hair styles and more

Mattel Ken and Barbie
On Tuesday, January 20, Barbie announced the expansion of its Fashionistas line with 15 new and diverse Ken dolls. / Mattel

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Say hello to the new lineup of Ken dolls!

On Tuesday, June 20, Barbie announced the expansion of its Fashionistas line with 15 new and diverse Ken dolls, featuring three body types – slim, broad and original – and a variety of skin tones, eye colors, hairstyles and modern fashion looks.

The new Ken dolls join an expanded Barbie Fashionistas line. In 2016, Barbie introduced three new Barbie body types – tall, curvy and petite – along with new skin tones, eye colors, hairstyles and fashions and accessories.

“By continuing to expand our product line, we are redefining what a Barbie or Ken doll looks like to this generation,” said Lisa McKnight, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Barbie. “Evolving Ken was a natural evolution for the brand and allows girls to further personalize the role they want him to play in Barbie’s world.”

This photo combo of images provided by Mattel shows a variety of Ken dolls now available from Mattel. Mattel announced Tuesday, June 20, 2017, that the company is introducing 15 new looks for the male doll, giving him new skin tones, body shapes and hair styles. The makeover is part of the toy company’s plan to make its dolls more diverse and try to appeal to today’s kids, many of whom would rather pick up an iPad than a doll. Barbie received a similar overhaul more than a year earlier. (Courtesy of Mattel via AP)

The new Ken will have modern hairdos, such as cornrows and man buns, in addition to seven skin tones. He’ll even be sporting some new fashion including plaid shirts and graphic tees.

Ken was first introduced to the world 56 years ago as Barbie’s blue-eyed chiseled boyfriend.

Mattel is trying to fight falling sales of its iconic doll line at a time when many kids would rather play with an iPad. Barbie sales were down 13 percent in the first three months of the year compared with the same period a year ago. A live-action Barbie movie is in the works for next year, with hopes that the big-screen flick will spur doll sales as well.

Some of the new $10 Ken dolls were being rolled out to shops and online stores Tuesday, Mattel Inc. said, and all of them will be on store shelves by the holidays.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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