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Bratz are back with a GCDS collaboration both for you and your favourite dolls

Calling all Angelz: I have big news. The Italian makeover of Bratz by streetwear brand GCDS is set to drop today, Wednesday 1 December, on the label’s website as well as in select GCDS stores and toy retailers worldwide. Here’s everything you need to know about what could be the hottest collaboration of the year.

The early 00s brought us many gems like lower back tattoos and although the decade did have its less than tasteful moments—just look at low rise jeans and jelly shoes, which come at the cost of our precious planet—I can’t help but happily reminisce on its iconic trends. And with numerous Y2K aesthetics coming back in full force in 2021, it comes as no surprise that Bratz dolls are launching a new collaboration.

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The first doll I ever remember actually liking growing up was a Bratz, which I think is probably the case for many gen Z and millennials out there—and it’s not hard to see why. Bratz dolls changed the world (in six inch platforms no less) with their flawless style and an array of multi-diverse personas. No matter what race you were, what kind of hair you had, the fashion dolls showed you could be a beauty queen of the highest priority. And boy did that marketing work wonders on me.

That’s why I’m so excited to tell you that you now have the chance to live your dream of being just like your perfect dolly too, as MGA Entertainment’s trendiest toy doll brand is teaming up with Milan-based fashion streetwear brand GCDS.

The collaboration is limited-edition and includes a brand new line of ready-to-wear clothing pieces and accessories. Everything you can think of to be your very own Bratz doll yourself is included, from cozy sweatshirts and undergarments to perfectly patterned silhouettes. And it wouldn’t be a true Bratz collection without the famous four dolls—Yasmin, Cloe, Jade and Sasha—would it? We also get to see the classic characters in high-fashion couture wardrobe picks from GCDS.

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Bratz is a household name—the American product line of fashion dolls made by MGA and created by Carter Bryant has become synonymous with the Y2K era, and I think I owned pretty much every possible variation of each doll. Ask anyone with any sense of style and they probably played with a Bratz over a Barbie. Sorry, not sorry. The original 10-inch fashionable foursome were released on 21 May 2001 and their signature style was all the rage at the time, with their wide almond-shaped eyes, elegant dramatic eye shadow and perfectly shaped bobble heads. The dolls spawned a lot of little kiddie copycats—including myself—sporting those poppin’ plump glossy lips that you could spot from a mile away.

So why not relive your childhood years by getting suited and booted in glitzy glamazon heels and step straight into 2000s nostalgia with this GCDS X Bratz’ capsule collection. Here, we’ll break down the basics of the collaboration and how to cop all that catches your eye from this highly anticipated drop.

What can we look forward to seeing for Bratz X GCDS?

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The newly vamped up Bratz dolls, plus an array of fun gadgets, will also be available for purchase at GCDS’ upcoming holiday pop-up shops across the globe. Throughout December, GCDS is celebrating this new release in its stores—including stellar locations like Milan’s luxury shopping district, London, Rome and Los Angeles. The Bratz-themed pop-ups will feature my childhood dream of life-size Bratz dolls—that stand at six-point-two feet tall to be exact—in full GCDS attire, created by renowned artist Colin Christian.

The collection’s prices range from $150 (£112) to $600 (£450) for the ready-to-wear line. While two of the iconic Bratz pack—Sasha and Yasmin—go for $85 (£63) each. The dolls also comes along with accessories that go between $20 (£15) and $50 (£37).

Keeping up with its time, the capsule collection will also feature a range of gender-neutral wardrobe staples. Limited to only 500,000 available pieces, the collaboration screams ‘run, don’t walk’. From winter-friendly items like hoodies and comfy sweatshirts that come in pink, white, yellow and black, all items will be stamped with the slogan of the century, “Passion for Fashion.”

If you need to spice up the vibe in your closet with some much-needed style staples with a hint of Y2K flawlessness, be sure to bag the bejewelled shorts and embroidered bralettes. You’ll also find a long-sleeved mock-neck top and a minsky mini dress. Don’t worry dolls, if that doesn’t sound like what you usually go for, there’s also a black off-the-shoulder jersey dress, printed with the signature slogan and embellished in multicoloured crystals.

GCDS is also taking over two collector’s edition dolls by dressing them up in some of its most iconic runway looks. The miniature versions of GCDS clothing are complete with stylish embellished bodices, picture-perfect printed dresses, chic statement accessories and luscious fur coats. And that’s not all, a ready-to-wear loungewear collection harking back to the Y2K aesthetic has also found its way into the collaboration. It’s hard being perfectly dressed at all times, so why not rock both worlds and chill in some comfy bralettes, sweatshirts and socks?

How did this partnership come to be?

Creative director of the project Giuliano Calza—GCDS’ co-founder alongside his brother Giordano—has talked previously about the journey to becoming a fashion powerhouse. In a candid interview with WWD, he shared how the brand got it started, “When the Bratz dolls were launched back in 2001, people were saying that they were ugly, vulgar, tacky… The same things that many used to say about our clothes.”

Calza also worked with MGA Entertainment to create a Bratz doll of himself and seven of his closest female friends. So you might see some friends of the brand—some of whom you probably already follow on TikTok or Instagram—posting theirs too. The GCDS X Bratz dolls will also be featured in the Bratzology book, according to NYLON, and each purchase is set to come with exclusive stickers.

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So far, it’s been revealed that Calza has created brand new looks for two of the original Bratz characters, Sasha and Yasmin, and that their cheeky personalities will be reflected in their sartorial overhauls. Almost as if they were plucked straight up from the GCDS runway, the designer created two spunky and striking fits. Sasha is dressed in a crystal-embellished mini dress, layered over a bold black catsuit and paired with a GCDS-printed seriously fierce faux fur coat. Her accessories include a kicking set of knee-high cowgirl boots, classic gold earrings, and a heart-shaped chained handbag.

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Yasmin dons a puffed mini dress that’s adorned with that timeless Bratz-themed, all-over print, as well as a sparkling logo belt at the waist. Her look is complete with gorgeous earrings featuring the GCDS logo, heeled mules, and a lilac-coloured tote bag. Just like all Bratz dolls, and my favourite part about them, both Sasha and Yasmin’s feet can be removed to swap out their shoes.

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In an Instagram post sharing his very own Giuliano Bratz doll, Calza wrote, “I kept thinking of myself back when the Bratz first came out because I wanted to create excitement in that Giuliano This doll has been rejected many times, called ugly, found weird and yet none of it has made her less of a bad bitch.”

“I dedicate this collab to everyone who has struggled to find someone like ‘themselves’, to those who in their rooms were playing the fierce ones even when things got tough,” he continued. He concluded the post with, “[Bratz] invented style and they tell us consistency is key. We don’t wanna be dolls, we wanna be Bratz.”

Why Bratz and why GCDS?

For Calza, the dolls reach beyond their plastic boxes and are more than mere toys—they turned the fashion industry upside down, ripped up its rules and, with a glint of glitter gloss and attitude, hooked children everywhere onto haute couture. The collection hopes to inspire younger generations as Calza shared in an interview with Paper Magazine. “I think we chose each other, we share so much values, both the mindset and some of this Y2K nostalgia, and I’ll never forget when a reporter at my very first show said, ‘So you do ugly fashion’. I remember being a young kid and hearing the same for these cute dolls. Just because they were ‘different’,” he told the publication.

Talking about his own label, Calza continued, “It’s actually what GCDS is about. Some call it childish, playful, weird. I really wanna hold on to the magic you live as a kid and make it pop culture.”

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The social media campaign for this unique partnership was put together by aleia (full name Aleia Murawski) and the creative studio Breakfast for Dinner depicting the dolls in a fun, vibrant and even a little risque new light. The Bratz are back with a whole new vibe and I for one will definitely be first in line at the register to get my hands on a new trendy fit for me and my miniature made-up twin. Maybe I’ll see you there too.

Barbie sent a doll on a zero-gravity flight to inspire young girls to work in space and STEM

On 11 October 2018, dubbed the International Day of the Girl Child, toy manufacturing giant Mattel debuted two Barbie dolls modelled after European astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti. Partnering with the European Space Agency (ESA) to celebrate Barbie’s 60th anniversary, one of the dolls sported a stylised reproduction of NASA’s Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or spacewalking suit, while the other donned a blue flight suit with ESA patches.

Today, the former of the two has actually jetted off on a zero-gravity flight—with the aim of inspiring young girls to consider a career in space and science, technology, maths and engineering (STEM).

Kicking off World Space Week 2021 with the theme ‘Women in Space’, Cristoforetti’s lookalike doll mirrored the preparation an astronaut needs to do before heading off to space, by travelling and floating on a zero-gravity flight from an ESA base in Germany. “The mini Samantha doll has already been on a parabolic flight, so she already has some experience with weightlessness,” 44 year-old Cristoforetti said in a video statement, as noted by Reuters.

Set to break new grounds as the first European female astronaut to command the International Space Station next year, Cristoforetti—affectionately known in her home country as ‘AstroSamantha’ or ‘AstroSam’—hopes the doll can inspire the next generation. “I think boys and girls, they get passionate about things because they see something intriguing and funny. So maybe those images will kindle a passion in some girls’ hearts and that will be incredible.”

This aim is also backed by a list of educational resources that spotlight different careers in the industry and teach primary school-aged children more about space. Rolling out across toy stores in the UK and Europe this year, proceeds from the sale of these dolls will be donated towards a PhD student bursary at the non-profit organisation Women In Aerospace (WIA).

“With space and STEM careers still underrepresented by women, Barbie is using its platform this World Space Week to show girls exciting and diverse roles and activity in space to inspire them to explore their limitless potential,” said Isabel Ferrer, Barbie’s Marketing Director for Europe and Emerging Markets. In an interview with Sky News, Ferrer noted how the project isn’t just aimed at aspiring astronauts, but also focuses on potential engineers and space scientists like Doctor Nicol Caplin.

According to Caplin, who joined the ESA as a research fellow at the age of 28 and has noticed a lack of gender diversity in space and STEM careers, young girls seeing the doll could be extremely powerful. “I think it’s quite difficult to be what you can’t see and so to imagine yourself as a Barbie doll floating through space,” she said. “Maybe that could have some spark and could really inspire some girls to put on a space suit and to go into space themselves one day.”

However, Caplin also believes encouraging young people is mainly about choice. “It’s not so much about forcing girls into STEM. I think this is all about giving young girls the choice of knowing what they want to do in life and knowing what is open to them. It’s all what the child enjoys and if it happens to be science, I’m all for that and that should be encouraged. Maybe this toy could help that.”

So if you’re one of those Twitter users dubbing this move “a missed opportunity” to send a human female crew on-board, hear me out. Be it a music producer or an astronaut, these dolls have been created to highlight careers where women are often underrepresented. One of the ways to expose young, impressionable girls to such careers is through role-modelling—by showing them examples of women from diverse backgrounds and fields who are breaking boundaries.

And as Cristoforetti herself said back in 2019 with the drop of the collaboration, “I’m very happy that Barbie dolls nowadays reflect not only the body shape of real women, but also the full range of their professional achievements. I hope this will help girls and boys to imagine their future without being constrained by artificial limits that have no place in our time.”