Barbie: Mattel release doll with Down's syndrome in campaign with model Ellie Goldstein

British model Ellie Goldstein with new Barbie fashionistas doll. Credit: Mattel

Barbie manufacturer Mattel has launched its first doll with Down's syndrome as part of a campaign to empower more children to find a doll that represents them.

The toy company's new Fashionistas line includes dolls who use wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs, hearing aids, dolls with vitiligo and a doll without hair.

Partnering with British model Ellie Goldstein, who has made history as the first model with Down's syndrome to feature in major international campaigns for brands such as Gucci and Adidas, they hope it will showcase a broader view of beauty in the fashion industry.

She is one of British Vogue’s cover stars this May and is also named one of the Business of Fashion 500, a list of people shaping the global fashion industry.

"Diversity is important to me as people need to see more people like me out there in the world and not be hidden away.” Credit: Mattel

Ellie Goldstein said: “I am so happy that there is a Barbie with Down’s syndrome. Seeing the doll, I felt so overwhelmed - it meant a lot to me and I’m so honoured and proud that Barbie chose me to show the doll to the world. Diversity is important to me as people need to see more people like me out there in the world and not be hidden away.”

Down's syndrome is when a person is born with an extra chromosome.

Some people will be more independent while others might need more regular care.

How was the doll created?

Barbie has created the new doll alongside the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) in the USA.

As the first-ever Barbie doll with Down's syndrome, the toy company believes it is important to accurately represent a person with Down's syndrome and celebrate the wider community.

Guided by the NDSS, the doll’s pink pendant necklace with three upward chevrons represents the three copies of the 21st chromosome, which is the genetic material that causes the characteristics associated with the condition.

The chevrons, or arrows, are synonymous with “The Lucky Few,” meant to represent the lucky few who have someone with Down’s syndrome in their lives.

Kandi Pickard, NDSS President and chief executive, said: “This means so much for our community, who for the first time, can play with a Barbie doll that looks like them. This Barbie serves as a reminder that we should never underestimate the power of representation. It is a huge step forward for inclusion and a moment that we are celebrating.”

The doll has been designed alongside medical professionals. Credit: Mattel

The doll’s dress pattern also features butterflies and yellow and blue colours, which are symbols associated with Down’s syndrome awareness.

In the UK, Carol Boys, chief executive of the UK Down’s Syndrome Association says “The Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA) are pleased to see that Barbie is introducing a doll who has Down’s syndrome into their range.

"As the only charity in the UK supporting all aspects of Down’s syndrome, we often hear from families who feel their children are not represented enough in the mainstream media.

"We, therefore, welcome the fact that children in our community will be able to play with a doll that represents them and their lives."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.