“We need to rethink our perception of ‘average.’ It doesn’t signify mediocrity, but rather it challenges us to think more deeply. Average includes us all. And all of us are beautiful,” is the slogan for the crowd-funding campaign for Lammily, the world’s first “average-sized Barbie,” created by Nickolay Lamm. The campaign launched March 5th with a goal of $95,000 and successfully finished less than 24 hours after launching. The campaign helped Lamm more than quintuple the desired goal, earning a remarkable $501,384.
The creator, who works as a digital artist, spoke with Robert Rambeau, the former Vice President of Manufacturing at Mattell to figure out how to select a highly qualified manufacturer to produce the dolls, which actually have one up on Barbie, as each doll will have articulated wrists, knees, feet and elbows. Soon after, Lamm launched the crowd-funding campaign to help cover the costs of tooling and molding and to meet the manufacturer’s minimum order quantity. Backers of the doll were able to pre-order an exclusive first edition Lammily wearing a blue and white ombre blouse, denim shorts and white sneakers . 20 people paid $1500 to have their name on the Lammily packaging and up to 10 exclusive first edition Lammily dolls. The final pre-order totaled 17,000 of the dolls.
Why make an average-sized Barbie in the first place? For the creator, the reason is personal. On his blog Lamm writes, “Back in high school, I starved myself and exercised to exhaustion to have a set of six-pack abs. After achieving my desired BMI, I looked and felt terrible. This experience taught me to keep things in perspective. Every one of our bodies is different, so we should not be aspiring to some idealized standard.” The doll which is just 10.72″ tall (much shorter than real Barbie) and dressed much simpler than her long-legged counter-part, is a “plastic” example of the non-idealized standard that Lamm is so intrigued by. For him, the doll is meant to personify his belief in finding beauty in what is average and moreover, cultivate a healthier attitude in the children that will eventually own and play with the doll. Lamm continues,”The foundation of Lammily is built on being true to yourself in a world that pressures you to conform to standards.”
The current problem is that Barbie isn’t really helping kids when it comes to developing a healthier mental landscape in regards to body image and fashion standards. But, even more interestingly, is a point that Lamm brings up on his blog, mentioning that Barbie might even planting seeds of delusion in our youth, “When you look at the current fashion doll market, you see it dominated by divas, princesses, and mermaids. You also see a lot of different careers, which these dolls promote, and I applaud them for that. However, what about the real steps you must take to achieve your dreams? I believe that one of the hardest things in life is to find your own path, something that is your calling. But, to find this calling, you cannot just pretend, you have to actively engage in reality.”
“Lammily” will do exactly that. The accessories he foresees in the hands of the doll will be akin to the objects that an intelligent, resourceful individual might use in his or her daily life. For example he states that he would love to see miniature books, gardening tools and musical instruments inside of a house that Lammily has built herself.
It’s hard to ignore the simple / camper style wardrobe that Lamm has chosen for his doll, even though he clearly promotes her as “fashionable”. The page for her crowd-funding campaign even states, “Lammily has style,” but Nickolay does in fact have plans to incorporate a wide range of fashions into Lammily’s wardrobe so that there will be something for everyone. On his site he says he is open to any clothing company wanting to work with him to provide this possibility. He also plans on making male dolls eventually and other dolls that span a wider variety of ages and races.
The name is hard to ignore, but the creator has assured everyone that Lammily is the name of the brand, not the doll. Each first edition doll will come with a passport so that girls can name their doll whatever they want. “The brand name is just a take on my family name because the creation of Lammily is a family project.” Lamm says. Those who were lucky enough to contribute early to the crowdfunding campaign will receive their doll shortly after it is shipped in November of 2014.
While we think the concept of an “average Barbie” is brilliant and much needed, we think she already needs a makeover and a few style tips!
For more information on the doll watch the video below or check out the splash page for the crowdtilt campaign here.
– Nicole Brenny for The Untitled Magazine