Hmmm, what doll will you buy your kid this holiday? There’s many to choose from this year.
Well, I’m sure all of you have heard about the recent release of the new Bratz. Bratz came back in August of 2010, much to the anticipation of many fans and the surprise of many non-fans. In 2008, Mattel filed a lawsuit against Carter Bryant, the designer at Bratz at the time, who was claimed to have been working for Mattel at the time he gave the idea to MGA. When under contract with Mattel, all ideas for dolls while at work have to be handed over to Mattel. This shouldn’t include ideas while they are designed at home, but Larson ignored that at the time, stating that “It doesn’t matter, because he used the company’s resources to create the doll, therefore it is Mattel’s by law”. Mattel had emails as proof that Bryant was in contact with MGA while in the Mattel office. Mattel won the case then, decided by Judge Larson, and in 2009, MGA was to give Mattel all of it’s Bratz dolls and the ideas for the next year. However, later, MGA filed an appeal. In December of 2009, the case re-opened, the transfer was dismissed, and MGA was awarded the Bratz once again.One of the reasons was that Judge Larson “didn’t see the case fairly, and compared a creative idea to a bunch of artwork that could apply to any doll. He didn’t see the doll and each of it’s components.” Basically, not ALL of those ideas designed by Bryant were used. Many of the ideas were thrown away. So, the case ruled that MGA could have their doll until the next case decides (it isn’t over yet) the finality. The exceptions were MGA couldn’t use the same face molds anymore or resemble any of the drawings, neither are they allowed to re-release or sale any of the old Bratz before the lawsuit. Funny, after the case, Larson quit. Maybe the “doll war” gave him a headache….
So, in July 2010, MGA announced the Bratz return, just in time for it’s 10th Anniversary (though technically the anniversary is next year).
Yet, there were a few fans from the beginning that were prepared for the worst. On BratzWorld.tv, One of the first Bratz Fan Groups, many of the fans were saying that they expected the newest Bratz to be a complete failure. They got their evidence of this by comparing the quality and styles of the dolls in 2008 and 2009, during the court case drama. By 2008, many of the complaints were that the Bratz lost all their “edge” and “funk” and seemed to be dedicated to pleasing what we in the underground call “soccer moms”, or moms who wanted more wholesome dolls for their children. Whether this is a good thing or bad thing, well, is up to the customers. The dolls began covering more up, choosing princess and powder-pink lines, and all dolls started looking more and more alike. In my opinion, the dolls started wearing each others’ fashion passion in 2004 with lines like Pretty N Punk and Tokyo-a-go-go. I mean, isn’t that supposed to be Jade’s fashion passion? The Bratz lost all their individuality then. But 2008 was far worst. I mean, the clothes were the exact same outfit in a different color!
The Bratz had everything that fashion dolls before didn’t have. The Bratz were original. The Bratz were a doll line that had a rebellious sass. They wore styles that were inspired from the hip-hop and urban idols, or “grunge” for lack of a better word, different from Barbie, the fashion doll at the time. Barbie was pink-ish and pretty and girlie. Bratz were trendy, edgy, exotic, sassy, rebels who took fashion risks. There were plenty other dolls that were trying to take advantage of the tween market that was losing interest in playing with toys, and instead wanted to buy CDs and be like Britney Spears (we can thank Nickelodeon for Teen Nick, which was like “Disney-Channel today” and MTV). Mystikats, Lisa Frank though they were cute school supplies first, Zodiac Girlz, Diva Starz were produced, trying to appeal to a generation that was putting emphasis on being a tween. But all of those dolls failed to reach the market. But Bratz was what the tweens were looking for.
The Bratz had diversity (the blonde doll didn’t get all the pretty clothes and didn’t stand out as the “queen” all the time). Each girl had her own unique personality and style. Barbie was always known as the cute blondie who could do everything. I bet you no one knew that she had a black friend named Christie or a Hawaiian friend named Kira. Not really. You knew she had a black friend, but that friend was named “Black Barbie.” It can’t be helped as this doll came out in the 1950s. Well, it was about time for Barbie to retire in the Y2K era. Bratz was the perfect replacement for this generation, who had a hidden desire to rebel. Generation “Scorpio”, I call it.
The Bratz lastly had individuality. Each girl had their own Fashion Passion. Cloe’s fashion sense was shimmering and sparkly fabrics and animal prints. She was always into setting the latest trends. And they called her Angel, because that’s what she was. Truly gangsta to have a nickname, right? Sasha’s fashion sense was the “hip-hop thang” with a little bit of old school funk. Bunny Boo was her nickname because…she loved hip-hop. Jade’s fashion sense was way extreme, and cutting-edge fashions, similar to styles in Japan at the time. Jade’s nickname was Kool Kat, because her fashion was wicked cool and she loved cats. Yasmin’s fashion sense was bohemian style, with exotic textures and cool threads, with earth tone colors. They called her Pretty Princess because she ruled. Reminds me of the Spice Girls, each girl had their own style and nickname, and each girl had their own individuality and they were diverse. We can blame their popularity for this generation wanting dolls to be that way. Diva Starz, another doll line by Mattel, were like deliberate Spice Girl rip-off dolls.
They had quality too. The Bratz had fine, saran hair, not the hair that gets tangles easily, or gets stuck together, or feels rough. Ya know, the one that fades when you put it in water? The fabric felt real and didn’t tear, and each piece could be taken off and mixed and matched. The hair styles were different each time, and little details were added to the clothing, make-up, and hair.
But once the Bratz were at the height of their popularity, that all changed. In 2004, the Bratz became this outrageous and rebellious group of girls that still took fashion risks, but they lost all of their individuality. No one could deny that the Bratz were still original, and diverse, but the individuality was drown out by the outrageous styles. The problem began when the demand for “select themes” became popular. For instance, Pretty N Punk, Tokyo-ago-go, Midnight Dance, Space Angels, and others. The Bratz began wearing Jade’s style. I guess since her style was the most popular at the time, MGA decided “why don’t we use cutting edge themes. We can still give the Bratz different clothes, but they’ll be cutting edge.” Now people say the Bratz are “edgy” because they lost all their individual fashion passion.
The line had originality in the sense that the line dared to go where no other doll line would go. It produced lines that expressed the tween and teen inner rebel. It just wasn’t fashionable and trendy, it went beyond the imagination of the times. It was diverse in the sense that each doll had her own look and made the style their own. There were also many different looking dolls by this time, more dolls than the original four. High quality doll lines with real fabric and small details. But notice the lack of individuality. All of them are wearing the same style. Where is Sasha’s “hip-hop thang”? Where is Yasmin’s Boho? And I don’t see any shimmery fabrics and animal prints on Cloe. Completely washed away. But many Bratz fans didn’t notice because of what the Bratz stood for: rebels and taking risks. The doll had the one thing that is strong for a doll to continue in the doll market: originality.
But in 2007-2009, the Bratz lost all of that, beginning with the supposed “biggest line of the year” Bratz Forever Diamondz and trickling down to Bratz Pixiez. Basically, those lines during the time were the Bratz wearing the same outfit, but a different color or slightly different design. The lines included Birthday Party, Sun-Kissed Wave 2 (far cry from Wave1), Pixiez, Diamondz, and other lines.
Pretty dolls, but where is the same flair?
Didn’t Barbie have a Fairytopia similar to this? Pretty dolls, but yet again…
It’s no wonder this was their lowest year….
And even more annoying was the attack of the “Closmins”. In the Bratz world, that means that most of the lines began excluding Sasha and Jade, and just starting making lines with only Yasmin and Cloe. Somewhere along the years, Cloe and Yasmin became the biggest dolls. This was the result of Bratz losing their fashion passions. Before they lost it, each doll had something that made it special. Yasmin and Cloe were the “prettiest dolls” to consumers, but Jade and Sasha had the best fashion sense, so it left a balance. But when all of them started dressing like Jade, the prettiest dolls stood out (you know, like Beyonce did in Destiny’s Child threesome?).
Now if this isn’t enough evidence for how far the Bratz have fallen in the last couple of years, I don’t know what is. From around 2007-2009, the Bratz lost all of that individuality, to the point all of the clothes looked alike. The only thing that was individual was the fact that they wore different colors. Diversity? Definitely not there, especially when the attack of the “Closemins” happened. Jade and Sasha were completely excluded from most of the lines, as if they were not the original, important Bratz dolls a part of the main line. Originality…absolutely gone. Many of these lines look waved from other lines. The ideas are so Barbie-ish that it seems to have a lack in Bratitude. Well, at least the makeup is original, even if the fashions show a lack of spunk. But hey, after flowing all of their ideas out in 2005, what did they have left anyway?Well, Bratz Girlz Really Rock was a step in improvement, and Bratz Dance Crewz.
Well, at least the Bratz have their individuality back, with their own style. And at least they have their diversity back, with each Bratz doll being represented. However, the originality is still gone here. Wasn’t everyone doing music then? Especially with High School Musical. And the quality was bad. The make-up was smudged on some dolls, the hair was easily tangled, and the fabric tore easily.
Well, now we are here, in 2010. The newest Bratz have been released. But because Bratz took a year off, do to the court mess, other dolls have been able to slide into the marketplace while Bratz were gone. Three of them being: Moxie Girlz/Teenz, Monster High, and Liv dolls. These dolls represent a whole new generation than the one that made Bratz the icon it is today. Those dolls represent the “teeny-bopper age”. They are all girls who are like “Disney Channel” idols that wear trendy and girlie fashion, and only talk about high school related issues like crushes, and what to wear to a school dance, etc. While Bratz doll lines made you travel the world, and go to that punk rock club, these dolls seem to do nothing but keep you grounded in high school. And yet, all three are a success. Monster High is Mattel’s answer to competition to Bratz.
Sadly, it’s beating the Bratz.
How? Well, let’s take a look at the new Bratz lines again:
Why are these dolls such an issue now? They look pretty right? They seem to be diverse, and each seems to have their own style right? WRONG. Notice that one of the 10 Bratz has a fashion that’s similar to Cloe, same leggings, same jacket and same shirt, with a different skirt and no hat. And notice that the attack of the Closmins are back! This is disappointing for a “comeback”. Taking a look at the Bratz Party line, it seems the quality hair is back, the detail in the clothing, the diversity, and the originality is back. But with closer inspection, you notice that you’ve seen Cloe’s leggings before in store…oh, on who, you ask?
Why do I happen to see Cloe’s leggings on a completely different doll, also designed by MGA. What are they trying to do? Take the same fabric of clothing and see how well they can mix and match it? And then look at the basic line. It is super basic. Sasha would’ve looked better with the short hair she was advertised to have (though we can blame fans for complaining about that and then realizing they liked it). And they continue to blend in with the teeny boppers, like Liv.
Last but not least, the quality is horrifying. The Bratz quality is the main thing that is making Bratz Fanz hate the Bratz return. The hair is only saran on one doll line, Bratz Party. They have no original styles to them. The styles are basic and blending in with other doll lines. The clothes are easy to tear, and so are the bodies now, since they tried to make them poseable like Liv dolls.
And what is up with the competition Mattel produced? Mattel is definitely out to prove that MGA couldn’t have been successful without them, and they are succeeding. Monster High, though I don’t think the idea will last more than two years, as what can you do with a bunch of monsters, is actually a creative and original idea right now. The quality of the dolls is extraordinary, with high quality hair, detailed fashion, and entertaining webisodes and catchy theme song with added music video to promote them. To top it off, each doll line is diverse, has their own style and “ghoul” like features, and ALL dolls are included in every line…well, I don’t know if they have their own style. But they are diverse. And they have a little edge to them too, though they lack in the sass department….
All I can say is MGA really has to step it up if they want to beat out the competition. MGA should not ignore their fans this time. Yea, sure, the moms hated the old Bratz, but it doesn’t look like making the Bratz more wholesome is working either. All it seems to be doing is making Mattel dominate, because they’ve always been experts in the wholesome department. Bratz should be different. At least when the Bratz weren’t wholesome, they got more attention, both negative and positive. ANY attention at all is enough to make the dolls take notice. Haven’t you learned anything from Lady Gaga’s success? If she was just a trendy girl, she wouldn’t be as big. But her outrageous questionable fashion is what is promoting her and got her as famous as she is in the first place.
My advice for MGA has been shown through out this blog, and all I can say is “Good Luck”. We can only wait for December to see the results. Hey, if you ask me, majority of kids might head to that video game and electronic section, or ask for a cell phone. If we’re lucky, they might ask for an American Girl doll, or a Journey Girl doll.