Bratz Are Back Again in 2015: What Happened to the Bratz?

24 Jul

Bratz_2015_Logo

After a year-long hiatus, the Bratz have finally returned with a quirky new look, a hot new theme song, and a fresh new slogan: “It’s Good To Be Yourself”.

For those of you who have forgotten about the Bratz or have been out of the loop and so haven’t really known what happened to the Bratz, last year MGA Entertainment, the creators of the Bratz, decided they would go on a hiatus. MGA made the following statement:

So, here’s the deal with Bratz. We finally got the go-ahead to give it the time and backing to make it awesome. We want to really dig in to the direction of Bratz, what makes the brand awesome, and bring that back full force! In order to do that, and to have the epic come back that the brand really deserves, we are taking a year off. We are giving ourselves and the buyers a chance to cleanse palates of expectations so we can come back in 2015 and deliver something cutting edge, disruptive and awesome.

Many of you may not know what the statement above truly means. Many of you probably didn’t realize the Bratz had even left the scene. Many of you may have thought the Bratz were long gone BEFORE last year and may not understand why they had to take “a year” off. Some of you “kiddies” may have already consumed yourself with smartphones and I-pads and are like, “People still buy dolls?”

For all of you lost individuals, I will be here to give you a brief spill before getting into the actual comeback. Already know the details? Skip to the bottom…

For those of you who didn’t know Bratz left or for those of you who thought the Bratz left a long time ago, I will bring you up to date.

What Happened to the Bratz?

At the Turn of the 21st Century, many doll companies were trying to win “tweens” back into the doll market because so many were distracted by CDs, TV, video games, and anything else but dolls. By the age of 10, many girls were beginning to feel they were too old for dolls. Many people felt girls were growing up too fast and companies suffered from that loss of tween consumers. So, in an attempt to encourage tweens to play with dolls, many companies tried to make toys that would appeal to an older crowd. The only dolls that were successful at this were the Bratz dolls.

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Bratz has always been a doll line that has fought through major challenges and has overcome much opposition from critics and competition. When Bratz was first released in May 2001, the Bratz were not received well. It wasn’t until December 2001, the Holiday Season, that kids began to recognize the Bratz dolls. Ever since then, the Bratz slowly began climbing their way into the doll market until they were able to take 40% of the fashion doll market from the biggest fashion doll in the world, Mattel’s Barbie (I’ve collected both by the way, since the 1990s).

That really may not seem like much, considering the doll industry is much larger than “fashion dolls”, but considering at the time fashion dolls were really popular prior to 2001, it was a huge accomplishment. Bratz dolls were the first fashion dolls to rival Barbie in popularity. Mattel was the powerhouse toy company of the 1990s, eating up Hot Wheels, Disney toys, and even American Girl. When Bratz arrived on the scene, Mattel had competition from another growing toy company: MGA Entertainment.

MGA was unique. First off, people of various ethnic backgrounds could relate to the CEO who was not Caucasian. This impressed upon those who disliked “white, blonde” Barbie and her influence. Second, he was not afraid to take risks when it came to dolls. Ever since the 1980s, Barbie had already begun to lose her appeal. When Mattel tried to add more diversity to the Barbie line to compete with the popular Jem dolls in the 1980s, Mattel distinguished Barbie from the group by making her signature color pink, which limited color choices in fashion.  In the 1990s, so that she could appeal to “soccer moms”, Mattel tried to scurry away from her “fashion doll” label and began designing her fashions around various careers and ambitions.

Bratz, on the other hand, wore hip-hop fashions and had a modern urban appeal. They related to real teenagers. Many of the doll clothing was of higher quality than Barbie had been at the time. Many of the Bratz fashion was also trendier and not as…well…PINK.

As the popularity of Bratz grew, word spread about the rebellious dolls. People began to take them seriously and critics began examining the Bratz, especially “soccer moms”. The Bratz wore a lot of make-up, revealing or suggestive clothing, had big heads, glossy eyes, huge lips, and called themselves “Bratz”. Prior to 2004, there were no movies giving the Bratz much depth as far as personality, so kids could make them any way they wanted. If a kid didn’t have a computer, they wouldn’t know who the “sporty one” or the “glam one” was. There was also no particular “message” that parents deemed “positive”. It wasn’t until the movies and TV show arrived that “morals” like friendship, strength, courage, and creativity were implemented. When Bratz began capitalizing on movies and their music albums, the Bratz popularity skyrocketed. Bratz began moving away from their urban roots and started taking advantage of their “edgy” reputation by trying fashion styles that were completely “out-of-the-box”.

Bratz tokyo

bratz pretty n punk

Mattel, desperate to keep their hold on the fashion doll market, came up with new doll competitors for the Bratz: Myscene dolls. Myscene took advantage of the current emphasis on New York (since many were still recovering from 9/11), and tried to implement more urban fashions into the Barbie line. Myscene was a “hipper” and “more fashionable” version of Barbie. The lead character was still Barbie, but she took on the glossy-eyed look and bigger lips that the Bratz had. Though Myscene looked a lot like Bratz dolls, Myscene were decidedly prettier and more natural than the Bratz. Their feet were not stubby and their bodies were more realistic. Neither of them had the posable bodies we see today (that came with Liv dolls), but they had fashion any tween could want or dream of. Both fashion doll lines were relatively successful.

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However, MGA felt a bit insecure with Myscene looking so much like the Bratz. They were obviously afraid people would confuse the two and give Mattel money for Myscene, not seeing the real difference between the lines (though they were different in many, many ways). MGA filed a lawsuit in April 2005 against Mattel claiming they stole MGA’s doe-eyed look and used it on the Myscene dolls. This was a big mistake. In 2006, Mattel filed a lawsuit against MGA claiming that the main creator of Bratz, Carter Bryant, was working for Mattel while he was designing Bratz, which technically meant Mattel were the true owners of Bratz. Mattel had some good proof. Mattel was awarded money for the Bratz dolls and all dolls were ordered to be removed from store shelves in 2008.

This case was appealed by MGA in 2008 and the recall was halted. During this halted process, Bratz were allowed to return to shelves until it was finalized who truly owned Bratz. In 2009, the companies gained another lawsuit from Bernard “Butch” Belair. He filed a lawsuit against them both because Carter Bryant, the originator of the Bratz, claimed to have been inspired from a Steve Madden shoe ad Belair created for Seventeen magazine. Mattel stepped out of that case. MGA took it on and prevailed, but they still didn’t have complete ownership of Bratz. For the rest of 2008 and 2009, Bratz stepped out of the doll scene. After all of this mess with Bryant, he was let go from MGA, which made them suffer because he was the main creator of the line.

steve madden shoe ad 4 steve madden shoe ads 5steve madden shoe ad 3

Court battles have been going back and forth between the two companies, MGA and Mattel, ever since. These court cases greatly affected the Bratz dolls. With so much attention in court, it was clearly evident that Bratz were secondary. The Bratz dolls were starting to show less individuality, lower quality, and focus on Cloe and Yasmin rather than the four core Bratz girls.

When Bratz were removed from shelves, that gave other doll lines just the space they needed to shine. Monster High was in the works, playing on the “edgy” success of the Bratz. Basically, Monster High was supposed to be edgier than it turned out being. Monster High eventually formed its own identity, though…

monster high_Basic_wave_1

Suddenly, in 2010, MGA announced that Bratz would make their comeback to shelves. Everyone was excited, expecting the edgy Bratz with the amazing quality. Instead, we got dolls that “played it safe”. Most of the dolls wore really “quiet”, normal outfits. Many of their outfits covered them up completely, adding leggings where a skirt was too short and jackets where a top was too cropped. I suppose MGA was trying to appeal to the critics and parents. But it didn’t appeal to tweens or fans any more: the people who matter most. To add, the quality was low. Cheap quality outfits (Painted on leggings), cheap hair, recycled and re-used clothing and shoes, one outfit instead of two (as they once had), and hardly any accessories destroyed the doll line. Later, MGA admitted they rushed the new Bratz because they were eager to bring the dolls back to shelves. Still, they tried to make the dolls work, but the quality was just awful.  Finally, in 2014, MGA announced that Bratz would go on a hiatus.

Bratz 2010

Bratz 2010

They said they wanted to “cleanse palates of expectations” and “deliver something cutting edge, disruptive, and awesome”.

So let’s see how well they did this time.

The NEW Bratz

The Bratz have traded up both their urban and edgy look for one that is absolutely “creative”, eclectic, and quirky. They switched their logo from “The Girls with a Passion for Fashion” to “It’s Good to Be Yourself, It’s Good to Be a Bratz”. MGA is trying to focus all of their attention on promoting the Bratz through technology (Isn’t it obvious with the selfie line?).

The “5th” girl being launched with the all-new core Bratz is Raya. Raya was actually first introduced in 2007 with the Magic Hair line. She came with the Salon. MGA has confirmed that she is the same girl, but they changed her eye color (just like they added freckles to Cloe’s face). Raya isn’t really a new girl.

With every new launch (with the exception of 2010), it has always been tradition for Bratz to add a 5th girl to the core Bratz pack. Meygen was the first to be added as a “core” member, which was initially met with some controversy. I believe that was why she didn’t sell as well as the others in 2002. She was then retired, and Dana replaced her. However, they brought Meygen back later. As Bratz fans began to realize that MGA was just trying to develop the growing Bratz line, they became more accepting of Meygen. Eventually, so many new Bratz were being created to the point that MGA decided to just keep the main core four girls and add “5th characters” according to the makeup of each line. We ended up getting new dolls such as Nevra, Fianna, Felicia, Roxxie, Phoebe, Vanessa, and many others.

Now, as they re-launch a new generation of Bratz, they decided to add Raya as the “5th” girl to the core line, just as they did with Meygen in 2002.

Bratz artwork

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Hello, My Name Is

bratz hello my name is

The Bratz have announced several lines including the “Hello My Name Is”, “Selfie”, and “Study Abroad” lines. Of the three, my favorite is “Study Abroad”.

bratz-selfie snaps

Selfie Snaps

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Study Abroad

So, what do you think of the new Bratz?

Here’s my review, and you are all welcome to agree or disagree.

There are some things that I am very happy with, but the overall presentation of the Bratz is a bit boring for me this time around. There are some major improvements to the line, but the actual content is not as bold as what once impressed upon me when I first fell in love with the Bratz. I think the Study Abroad line is the best line offered because there is so much quality and detail in the line. It brings out the boldness of Bratz more than all the other lines. I feel that with time, the Bratz may get a little more bold, just from judging the Study Abroad line. But the first two lines seem to lack the boldness that I’m craving.

Still, after getting my eyes on Study Abroad, I feel that little glimmer of hope. I believe that this is just the beginning for Bratz. If we get more dolls like Study Abroad, with just a little more edge, I believe I will begin to enjoy this line of dolls.

Though the Bratz’s outfits are of the highest quality right now, and though the Bratz have the Study Abroad line, there’s something about the Bratz that seems a bit off.

I feel that, for a line that has the slogan, “It’s Good to Be Yourself”, they don’t really feel like they are being “themselves”. In fact, it feels like the Bratz are trying to conform to what everyone else wants of them and to the trends around them rather than breaking fashion rules. The new Bratz are just too girly. If they have a female lead designer, Bratz are doomed. Why? Because females tend to want to make dolls that are “safe”, “sweet”, and something they feel girls should play with (even if it’s not truly what girls actually want). I hardly see any female designers who make doll lines disruptive (Tree Change is a good example of that) and hardly any doll lines designed by females appeal to boys like the Bratz once did.

I don’t know whether it’s the eyes, the clothes, or the overall presentation. Something just seems to lack “Bratitude”.

MGA said they were trying to bring something “cutting-edge, disruptive, and awesome”. Study Abroad carries most of those descriptions. The other lines are just way too colorful and sweet. Instead of being bold and edgy, the Selfie Snaps and Hello My Name is dolls look cute and innocent. They almost feel like the second Moxie Girlz, Bratz’s sister line from MGA. These dolls literally look like they are wearing leftover fashions from Moxie Girl design ideas. And all of the dolls’ eyes (even in Study Abroad) are almost exactly like Moxie Girlz’s eyes. For people who like the cute and innocent thing, you may like the cuter Bratz lines. I just can’t really merge myself with the cute and innocent appearance of the newer Bratz dolls. I want the make-up, the dramatic fashions, and the bold line choices. I want to see dolls who break rules.

moxie girlz

I really hope that Tree Change dolls haven’t influenced the Bratz dolls in any way, not now or ever.

The “Tree Change” dolls, designed by Sonia Singh, were Bratz dolls that were reconstructed to look more like real girls. I’m here to tell you, the dolls are not interesting. It’s an example of why trying to make dolls into “normal” girls is a bad idea. The more you try to make a doll as boringly realistic as possible, so that they can reflect real girls, the more the girls just want to just well…live life without a doll. Dolls spark the imagination and make girls dream of the impossible. They help girls escape their world and be what they can’t be everyday. If girls are given dolls that reflect their everyday circumstances, they might as well not even imagine it. They won’t have to. They live their everyday circumstances every day.

Tree change dolls

This is exactly why I disagree with the goal of Tree Change dolls. Not only does it stifle imagination, art, and creativity, it is a poor business tactic, and can never be implemented in the real doll industry. I know I wouldn’t buy a Tree Change doll. I can’t imagine any kid that would even show interest. The reason is because there are more “average” dolls on toy shelves than there are “unique and bold” dolls. The news press pays attention to dolls that do something unique. Business runs on the element of originality. Bank (when the money rolls in) happens when someone sparks an idea that hasn’t been done before and when they find an idea that will be unique to the company. People will give money to the company because this “original product” can only come from that one company. Though nothing in the doll industry is extremely unique, the more unique a product is, with the right timing and promotion, the higher the chances for the doll line to become a hit.

If MGA breaks under the criticism, they may end up sacrificing all of their dolls’ unique qualities. I don’t want that to happen, but I’m a bit worried that MGA might try to conform.

It’s clearly evident that MGA is trying to appeal to parents and critics this time just as they tried last time in 2010 (though at least this time they were more creative). I could tell when they posted this article onto their facebook page that they wanted to appeal to parents, and somehow this article made them “feel good” about their release—–>New Bratz Dolls Tell Girls “It’s Good To Be Yourself”

The article author basically says “they’ve got a look and message that won’t make parents cringe”. That is truly the exact opposite of what made the Bratz so popular. Therefore, if this is the response MGA is getting from parents, they are not disruptive or “earth-shattering”. They are just…any other doll that a child can play with for a day and dump in the closet.

The article is a complete contradiction. While the author claims to enjoy the new message of “being yourself”, they obviously encourage the line to be something that “pleases parents”, the opposite of Bratz being “themselves”. For some reason, make-up is not a part of that self-expression. Dolls have to look “innocent to be “themselves” as well. To me, that doesn’t sound like “being yourself”. That sounds more like “Let People Mold You and Tell You What You Should Be”.

Parents can love and hate what they want, but at the end of the day it really matters what the kids and fans think. Parents aren’t the ones who will play with the dolls and most are not collectors. A parent can choose to buy any toy they want their child to play with, true enough, but if the child doesn’t like it, the child won’t play with it. The child won’t even ask their parent to buy a toy that they don’t want. If a parent buys a child a toy they think the child should have, it could be a waste of money. Therefore, the success of the Bratz is dependent on the new generation and the older fans of the Bratz. Furthermore, Bratz was meant to bring TWEENS back into the doll market, not little children. That goal is clearly being lost with the new Bratz.

MGA said they were trying to give Bratz the epic comeback the line deserved, but this is not exactly what I would call epic. However, it’s good enough, considering it’s just the beginning. It’s better than 2010, but not quite epic. If this is their idea of epic, they are definitely dealing with the wrong dolls here.

Still, there are some promising points I’d like to discuss. Though I don’t feel this comeback was amazing, this comeback wasn’t a total bust. There are some things that tell me that the Bratz have enough juice to fight the declining doll market.

Pros

1) I really like the new theme song the Bratz are promoted with. It’s called “Bratz What’s Up” by Skylar Stecker. It’s way better than the song they had in 2010 (“I Like”). This song carries more sass than the doll line itself. If Bratz come out with more movies and music, I’m certain it will sound good like it once did. I’m a bit relieved about that.

Skylar Stecker Bratz what's up

2) As mentioned before, I also like the Study Abroad line. I feel that it could’ve been edgier, like Pretty n Punk and Tokyo A-Go-Go, but I think it suffices. I really miss the Bratz when they weren’t so “girlish” (what’s with all the pinks and pastels, the skirts and floral patterns? Too much like Barbie), but I love the different details in this line. I love how each girl represents a different country. Maybe feminine and girly is in, but I don’t like what’s “in”. Still, Study Abroad has a lot of dramatic flair and the line is promising. Every doll will be coming home with me. The detail is amazing. The quality is impeccable. It really is the best line that has come out with this relaunch.

Berry Bread, a fellow blogger and Bratz collector, has an amazing review on the dolls:

3) I also like Hello My Name is Sasha doll. She seems to carry on the urban roots of the Bratz. Maybe it’s because she’s “Bunny Boo” and loves the “hip-hop thing”. In any case, her doll actually seems to look like a teenager. If any doll from that line comes home with me, it will be Sasha.

4) I also am happy the original “Bratz” logo has returned. The little cute “lips” next to the logo is great.

5) I like the new artwork. It feels more like the original. And the dolls actually look like the artwork! That is one major improvement.

Bratz 2001

6) They also returned Jade back to who she was in 2001. They made her the girl who likes extreme sports, like surfing and skateboarding. For those of you who don’t remember Bratz in 2001, you probably didn’t know that Jade used to have a skateboard in her room on the original website (the Bratz showed their rooms back then). In fact, she was more of the sporty one. Cloe used to play an acoustic guitar. Yasmin and Sasha were always generally what they are now.

7) I also heard that the quality is good. The hair is silky (saran, the most expensive). And guess what? No painted on leggings! Yay! (If you remember the horror of Style Starz Cloe, then you know what I’m talking about). It seems that the new dolls have more detail in their clothes, particularly in comparison to 2010. From reader Tom, I learned that the Bratz now come with two outfits in each package, tons of accessories, and now fashion/shoe packs are also available. This is excellent news. This shows that the Bratz have at least improved since 2010. They are not on the level they were in 2004/2005, but they are showing potential.

style starz cloe

8) And yes, the Bratz individuality is back. We saw a decline in individuality around 2007 and 2008 when the court battles between MGA and Mattel began to affect the Bratz dolls. Thankfully, fans can finally have a desire to collect them ALL because no two girls look the SAME. Fans know what I’m talking about when I mention the lack of individuality. Lines like Fashion Pixiez and Bratz the Movie put the Bratz dolls in the same outfits as one another. Designers thought that giving them a slightly different color would make them pass as “individual”. Sad to say, many fans, such as myself, were satisfied with just ONE Fashion Pixiez doll (though I really was never interested in pixies to begin with) and definitely none of the Bratz the movie dolls (which also lacked details as well). But now, Bratz have shown individuality within each line shown so far.

Bratz Fashion pixiez

9) I also like what I see of #SnowKissed which strongly reminds me of Winter Wonderland back in the 2000s. But in Winter Wonderland, the girls came with one skirt and one pair of jeans. Cloe’s doll comes with two skirts. Jade is the only one who comes with one pair of leggings and a skirt. The new winter dolls just seem too girly, like everything else in this comeback. :/ That’s not my thing. To add, the Bratz girls are wearing cropped tops when it’s supposed to be wintry and cold.  The original Winter Wonderland dolls wore sweaters and tights, like it was actually cold outside…

Their hats don’t seem as individual, but they are noticeably different from one another.

At least #Snowkissed shows some sass and flair very similar to the original winter collection. They are too girlish for my tastes, but they are still really nice.

bratz snowkissed

Bratz Winter Wonderland

Bratz Winter Wonderland

10) Bratz #Fierce Fitness isn’t bad either. It’s just something about their eyes…They don’t sit well with me.

Bratz fierce fitness

Cons

1) The Bratz are way too cute and innocent for my tastes. “Bratz” hardly seems fitting anymore. That may be fine and dandy for some, but I’ve collected enough cute dolls (Mystikats, Liv, American Girl, Lisa Frank, Ever Girl, etc). I don’t want any more. I know a unique doll when I see one and Bratz will literally just fade for me. Is Bratz awfully bland? No. They have more detail and accessories than in 2010. But their wardrobes are just so colorful and they just look too innocent.

They lack a whole lot of sass. Just look at their eyes. The glossy look is completely gone. Really, that’s what is taking away their edgy look. Their eyes are too big. That could be another reason why they look so “sweet and innocent”. It’s funny how a painted face can give so much meaning and personality to a doll. Without the glossy eyes, it just doesn’t feel like they have much “Bratitude”. In 2010, they managed to make the eyes look a bit sassy, even if it wasn’t as glossy as the original. I don’t know why they deviated from the glossy look even further.

Perhaps MGA had to deviate away from the original designs due to the court cases. MGA had to remove all 1st Wave Bratz from shelves and they are no longer allowed to utilize the original look for the Bratz. This could be why there is a change in the eyes (clearly going from being glossy-eyed to being doe-eyed). That loss in the court case really changed the Bratz. MGA may be trying their hardest to make Bratz as similar to how they used to be as possible without stirring another court case battle. From my understanding, they have to be careful using the format given to them by Carter Bryant. It really is a shame because those details make a world of a difference. Still, the only thing they may not be allowed to use are the eyes and original facial structures. This shouldn’t affect their fashion sense. Perhaps we will see more fashion lines like the Study Abroad line in the future.

Even though I know MGA may not be allowed to use the glossy-eyed look they once used in 2001-2002, during the midst of their court battle for the Bratz in 2010 they managed to make the eyes a bit sassy. Now, their faces look like cute little girls rather than sassy, bold teenagers.

Bratz were never the kind of edgy that was just bag-lady tacky. They were edgy because they weren’t afraid to wear chains and leather. They were edgy because they weren’t afraid to wear things most people said were worn by “bad girls”. Their expressions expressed sass and attitude. They dressed in darker colors and wore as many jeans as they did skirts. In fact, when the Bratz debuted, they all debuted in jeans. They were not just appealing to girls, but some boys liked them and collected them, too. I’ve run into so many male fans of Bratz, I began to see Bratz’s wide-ranged appeal.  These new dolls don’t feel any different from Barbie, Moxie Girlz, Monster High, or Ever After High. I might as well buy those dolls instead.

At this point, Bratz seem to be going in the same direction as Moxie Girlz dolls.

moxie girlz 4

Again, too girlish and too feminine for my tastes. They started getting this way in 2007. Again some fans may like it, and maybe that’s what’s in, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it or buy into it. When Bratz first debuted, they were different from the other prissy dolls. They debuted with skirts, sure, but pants dominated much of their lines. They, at least, had one skirt and one pair of pants each line. Now, some dolls will have two skirts and no pants. Hardly any of the dolls wear pants. They are just too feminine for my tastes. I liked the dolls that broke all the rules of femininity. I liked the dolls who weren’t so “soft”. I liked the tough look of the Bratz. No other doll line, not even Monster High, could capture that tough look, considering most doll lines are meant to be appealing to little girls.

2) Bratz’s goal was to focus on the interests of teens and tweens, not little girls. The new Bratz seem to be trying to gather in the interests of little girls. Issac Larian mentioned that he had gotten some of his inspiration from talking to little girls. If you look at their newest “It’s good to be a Bratz” commercial/ad, it’s apparent that younger children will be the focus. Compared to older Bratz commercials, it really doesn’t seem like a doll line people of all ages and genders can relate to. The original inspiration behind the Bratz was from Seventeen magazine, a magazine for teenagers.  The difference in inspiration will influence how the dolls are marketed and influences what the Bratz are wearing right now. Currently, the Bratz just don’t look like teenagers anymore.

I feel that is the problem. They will only capture the “little girls” and not the older girls as they once did. Bratz easily captured the hearts of tweens and teens (such as myself) back in 2001 because I didn’t feel too lame to own a doll that was “so cool”. Little girls imitated their older cousins and sisters anyway, so they were captured as well. That made Bratz’s popularity huge. With the new lines, I’m not too sure Bratz could capture the tween/teen market. That could be a loss in profits.

Bratz also once captured the interests of many males, even those that didn’t like dolls. That was something hardly any doll line has been able to achieve, as most dolls are geared towards girls. But Bratz were just that cool.

I honestly can’t see too many guys finding the new dolls cool, so that could be a loss as well.

They certainly will have a hard time appealing to as many people as they once did unless older people get the nostalgia “jones” (the disease I have right now 😛 ) and make themselves like it simply because it was a part of their childhood. I can’t see them grabbing a new market of teenagers.

3) What is with the cheesy selfie line? I know people are into selfies, but making it that obvious by putting “selfie” on every shirt in the line makes it obvious the people at MGA aren’t tech savvy. It’s obvious they are not used to catering their doll line to a modern age. They should be more discreet with the line. No one hardly takes “selfies” with “selfie” shirts on. It would be fine if just one doll had it on their shirt. But they should bring some individuality to the selfie line by making them have different words on their shirts instead.

4) I really don’t like the slogan, “It’s Good to be Yourself”, either. It’s cliche and everyone is using it. Even Monster High uses something similar in their slogan (“Be Yourself”) and Moxie Girlz is similar (“Be True! Be You!”) as well. Very few slogans say, “The Girls with a Passion for Fashion”. That slogan also encouraged a great variety in fashion. It’s great we get to see their own individuality, but doesn’t that take away the imagination from the children? How can they make up their dolls’ personalities when their dolls are given personalities? Plus, we fans want to see how far Bratz can go as fashion dolls.

MGA seems to miss the point entirely. Issac Larian, the CEO, seems to think that if he makes the dolls more “techy” it will be more appealing. But actually people are looking for something that stays true to itself despite all obstacles. People are looking for something that’s unique and empowering. They are not looking for something that “fits in”. I feel this will be the downfall of the line. Right now, MGA is just focused on making the Bratz more appealing to a new generation.

5) The website is also disappointing. I know people hardly visit websites anymore, but an appealing interactive website can make a world of a difference. It is one of the reasons behind American Girl’s success. I was hoping the Bratz website would be as awesome as it was once before. But it’s not. http://www.bratz.com

Overall, I love some things, but I have this emptiness. There is just something that is missing. I feel this was not an epic comeback. Maybe my expectations were too high, but after someone has a second chance at it, you’d think they’d get it right. What happened to all the ideas fans gave them? Maybe they are saving those ideas for later, but the initial lines matter right now, especially at this time in history where it is getting harder to capture the interests of girls and make a profit from fashion dolls. They would have done better if they’d showed fans some of the prototypes and got the fans’ input on the dolls. Oh well.

There is speculation that Bratz may be going on another hiatus or being discontinued entirely. Things aren’t looking good for the Bratz. 😦

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

If you really think you know the Bratz, try your hand at my Bratz quiz: How well do you know the Bratz?

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74 Responses to “Bratz Are Back Again in 2015: What Happened to the Bratz?”

  1. NerdHope24 2015/07/25 at 00:03 #

    Perfectly stated and I followed you. You’re an awesome writer and good to see a fellow doll collector.

    Liked by 1 person

    • generationnext 2015/07/25 at 14:25 #

      Thank you so much. It’s always great to hear from fellow doll collectors. 🙂

      Like

  2. Jayson 2015/07/25 at 01:11 #

    Wow, this article is amazing and so TRUE. This should be read by everyone! I’m really disappointed in the direction MGA is taking with these dolls. What is wrong with them?! Seriously, you should be the one in charge of MGA because they obviously don’t know what the heck they’re doing! This is very disheartening and I wish I could do something because the Bratz means so much to me.

    Like

    • generationnext 2015/07/25 at 14:24 #

      I agree, Jayson. The Bratz have always meant a lot to me. And this is why I’m very hard on the Bratz re-launch. I’m certain that MGA will try their hardest to bounce the brand back up to its original potential, but for now, people will have to wait patiently for anything extraordinary to happen.

      Thank you so much for reading. I appreciate your comments. 🙂

      Like

  3. Tom 2015/07/25 at 06:36 #

    I agree with the majority of what you’ve said, I too am not super impressed by this attempt at reviving the Bratz brand. I’m rather liking Study Aboard, but I do think that if it wasn’t in the current line-up I’d be almost completely resigned to this relaunch being a bust. I can see potential in SA, so I hope that more lines like it are released.

    For me I’m finding that I’m just so desperate to see Bratz succeed again, so desperate to see them back on store shelves, so desperate to have this thing that I adore so much back in my life, that I’m catching myself kinda settling for this relaunch. Like, I think because they’ve brought back quality clothes and hair, 2nd outfits, extra accessories, and fashion/shoe packs; I’m more open to them than I ever was to the 2010 relaunch. That and I’m tired of getting my hopes up just to have them crushed and be let down. And looking around at people on Instagram and Flickr I kinda think that many of then perhaps feel a similar way (although maybe don’t want to admit it). We’re just so desperate for this relaunch to be successful we’re happy (or perhaps resigned) to back it completely.

    MGAE seem to have put more time/effort/thought into this relaunch, but I guess only time will tell if it was well spent/guided.

    🙂

    (Oh and this article was very well written by the way)

    Like

    • generationnext 2015/07/25 at 14:22 #

      Very well-said. May I share some of your thoughts with my viewers?

      I also agree with what you’re saying. I have also just resigned myself to the situation. Really, when the Bratz were first released, they weren’t a dynamic hit. But time will definitely tell. Who knows where the Bratz will go from here. 😉

      Thanks for commenting. 🙂

      Like

      • Tom 2015/07/25 at 20:13 #

        I’m glad you understood. I posted on this on Tumblr but the whole time I just felt like I was waffling. I just find that it can be really hard to convey what I’m thinking and feeling because of how much Bratz mean to me you know? Like all those emotions cloud what I’m trting to say. Oh and of course, share away! 🙂

        Precisely! I mean I would love nothing more than to be proven wrong and to see this relaunch become a massive success, but from where I’m standing I can’t see that happening any time soon.

        Like

      • generationnext 2015/07/25 at 20:22 #

        Agreed. I also hope the Bratz becomes a huge success and has the time to flourish into a powerful line like it once was.

        Bringing out thoughts can be hard. Just putting these words together got me so emotional. And I’ve always been in the Bratz girls corner, even when people on Youtube would say, “Aren’t Bratz old news now?” I would defend them.

        But I really wish Bratz had made a comeback that knocked the wind out of me. Time will tell.

        Like

  4. Lalah 2015/07/25 at 14:56 #

    Aren’t you being a bit too harsh and close-minded? Sure, the new Bratz dolls may seem a bit too wholesome. But if you compare them to..let’s say..the “Strut It!” line in 2003, you can see that their clothes are somewhat the same, except one is more updated. Back then, maybe Bratz were only edgy because, in contrast, Barbie was the complete opposite. Now in 2015, we have Monster High, which has all the monstery edginess galore…and yet, Monster High hasn’t been selling well for 3 consecutive quarters now. Barbie sales are also going down. So in a way, it doesn’t really matter whether the dolls are edgy or not, as long as they’re continuously good. Heck, Barbie was able to make it for this long with her pink obsessiveness.

    Moxie Girlz and Liv were just boring, dull and bland, at least the new Bratz still has some creativity going on. I like Study Abroad too, so that should be a positive sign, and they’re just getting started. I’m assuming due to Bratz’s reputation, they’ll have to suck up to Toys ‘R’ Us and other stores so they could sell their dolls, maybe then they’ll start taking more risks that compliments more to our liking. Believe me, I want Bratz to still be sassy, daring and edgy just as much as you do, but I’d like to still be positive that it’ll get progressively better. If the fans have a problem with the new Bratz, hopefully MGA will listen and take notes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • nerdy girl 2015/07/25 at 17:55 #

      Exactly they just came out,people are going to have to give them time

      Like

      • generationnext 2015/07/25 at 18:48 #

        To nerdygirl, I agree. The Bratz need time, but do they have the time?

        People said the same thing in 2010. But time didn’t improve anything. To add, competition is already high and other doll lines are also suffering. If the Bratz don’t come in strong, they may not have any time. Money will keep the doll line running. If they don’t profit well, it will be hard to maintain the line. They will be forced to close the project down if they screw up this time. Their market share is scarily low. So, making an impact is important. That impact and press saved them in 2001. Being sweet and nice may not save them when there are already so many sweet dolls floating around, like Disney Princesses.

        Let’s also keep in mind that Bratz is the only doll franchise that has managed to keep its male fanbase. That could be a loss as well.

        I appreciate your comments though.

        Like

    • generationnext 2015/07/25 at 18:45 #

      To LaLah,
      Of course, you are entitled to your opinion on the line. This, of course, is my review. So you can take it or leave it.

      Maybe I am being too harsh and possibly I am more closed-minded, especially in comparison to this generation. But business doesn’t care how open-minded a person is. This is not just from my own perspective, but also considering the competition from a business perspective.

      “So in a way, it doesn’t really matter whether the dolls are edgy or not, as long as they’re continuously good.” In my opinion, whether the dolls are edgy or not decides whether I feel the dolls are good or not. Define good in your opinion. Some people think good is just quality. I prefer originality. Many people have many different ideas of “good”. MGA has the challenge of appealing to many different kinds of fans who have their own perspective of good. All people are potential customers. My idea of “good” is edgy. I fell in love with Bratz’s edginess, nothing else. Without it, why should I put my money behind it? I have the choice to buy what I want. And if I don’t like the product, I have the choice to voice my distaste and express criticism. I collect many doll lines, and always have since the 1990s, and I haven’t seen any dolls like the Bratz in 2001-2006. The new Bratz dolls that I see have a look that is easy to find anywhere within other doll brands as of right now. If expressing what I won’t buy is being too harsh and closed-minded, so be it. There will be many others like me. Perhaps you should understand my perspective. If they want me as a customer, I need to be convinced. So far, I’m not.

      “Heck, Barbie was able to make it for this long with her pink obsessiveness.” If Bratz is like Barbie, and you can compare the two, what’s stopping me from buying Barbie instead of Bratz? Nothing. If the two lines feel the same, then there is no need for me to continue collecting Bratz exclusively. However you feel about Bratz, from a business perspective, MGA no longer has an original product and will thus be vulnerable in the doll market.

      You can say I’m being harsh, but millions of fans said the same thing to me in 2010 when I criticized the Bratz then. All the amount of optimism in the world didn’t save the Bratz back then. When the Bratz failed to be successful after the 2010 relaunch, the Bratz were removed. I’ve seen millions of dolls come and go (Lisa Frank, Ever Girl, Mystikats, Liv, Generation Girl, Diva Starz, etc). They all had something nice about them, and they were all unique in their own way, but not unique enough to combat competition from other doll brands. Jem dolls were the biggest dolls of the 1980s. Do you see them around anymore? No. And I don’t care how long a brand has been around, they are still susceptible to being eaten up in the doll market and I don’t want to see that happen. A loss in profits within a company can mean the loss of a company. Sure, I agree that the Bratz are creative, but so is their competition Monster High and Ever After High. So yes, it really does matter if the Bratz are edgy or not because that is the only way I will buy a Bratz doll and I’m sure many other customers feel the same. If they want to appeal to buyers such as myself, those are my requirements.

      I don’t believe Bratz were edgy because Barbie was not. In the 1950s and 1960s, when Barbie first arrived, she was considered “edgy”. She was inspired from a doll that was in a German liquor store named Bild Lilli. She wore fashions that many considered suggestive and many people thought it was strange for children to want to play with a doll that represented a “full adult woman” rather than baby dolls. But Barbie changed over time and after that change, her sales began to drop.

      I see the same trend happening with Bratz.

      Bratz were edgier than Barbie because they were meant to appeal to tweens, not children, unlike Barbie. Bratz commercials didn’t have little girls in them. They mostly had tweens and teens from the ages of 10 to 17 years of age. Thus, Bratz’s fashion reflected fashions that teens and tweens were interested in. Do you honestly think any tweens or teens would be interested in these dolls now?

      Monster High is edgy but kind of girly as well. The only edgy thing about them is they are monsters, but their outfits are quite sweet and feminine rather than edgy and tough.

      More importantly, when we look at one doll line suffering, like Barbie and Monster High, a good competitor would also look at what their competition is doing wrong and try to fix it for their own line. Monster High’s sales are low, but they are still better sold than any other fashion doll line. Disney Princess lines are really selling. But if Bratz did exactly what they were doing, we’d end up with the Bratzillaz problem. Bratz has to be original in order to compete in a market flowing with dolls and they need to best their competition, not be met with the same results. Again, it does matter what the Bratz do. What the Bratz comes out with could make the difference.

      The greatest difference between Barbie and Bratz is that Mattel has many other successful doll lines that can give them money so that they can maintain the dwindling Barbie. Bratz is MGA’s main doll line and the one they are relying on to keep their company afloat. The success of the Bratz means everything right now, especially considering most girls today know more about smartphones than dolls.

      I feel criticism helps improve a line. If fans didn’t criticize Bratz in 2010, they would never have known how well they were doing.
      All I can tell you is I like what I like. If you like the doll lines, go ahead and buy them.

      “If the fans have a problem with the new Bratz, hopefully MGA will listen and take notes.”

      How would they know this if we didn’t use our voices to speak up? How would they know we have a problem if we didn’t say anything? Sure, we can show them with our pockets, not buying any new Bratz. But wouldn’t it be better to tell MGA exactly what the problem is?

      Again, I also mentioned that Bratz has potential. Still, for the sake of this blog, I stated exactly how I felt objectively about the dolls, no matter how positive I felt about the future of Bratz. In the here and now, I’m sorry, I’m not buying Hello My Name Is or the Selfie Snaps line.

      Yes, these lines aren’t any different from Strut It, but Strut It was not the Bratz’s first line. The Bratz had time to come out with their weakest stuff. To add, the line was also not extremely colorful like these lines. It had a more mature feeling to it with more make-up, faded hip-hugger jeans, and even cropped tops. The outfits now look more like what little girls would wear. Strut It appealed to tweens and teens, which was the goal of Bratz back then. There is the difference. The new dolls were inspired from what little girls like to wear and it shows. MGA could end up losing the tween/teen market they worked so hard to capture. When tweens and teens like things, kids tend to follow the example of their older cousins, sisters, brothers, which could easily bring all of those kids to the Bratz market. Appealing to teens is the ticket.

      To add, the popularity of Bratz increased when they came out with lines like Wildlife Safari, Pretty N Punk, Midnight Dance, Tokyo A-go-go, Rock Angelz, Bratz Dynamite, etc. The edgy lines brought attention to Bratz, not the ones that were too “ordinary”. Certainly those outfits weren’t “kid-friendly”

      One thing I will say is that I agree that MGA may be sucking up to stores. But I guess that’s exactly what I don’t like. And it’s not just the outfits, but I really think the slogan is really cliche. They can be more creative than that.

      I appreciate your comment. I can always learn from everyone.

      Like

      • Lalah 2015/07/25 at 22:42 #

        You’ve made some really good points that I can’t argue with. I still feel like I need to be a bit more positive about it or else I’ll be a nervous wreck because I really care about Bratz.

        I’m still not sure I completely agree with you about the clothes comparison between the old and the new. If you look at Jade, she’s wearing a pink dollface shirt with a long blue dress and blue boots…isn’t that something that a little girl would wear?

        I mean, I get it. They sometimes dressed more like teenagers, and lines from Midnight Dance, Dynamite, Pretty N Punk were risque and appealing to an older audience. But there were still quite a lot of outfits that were more on the “innocent” side too.

        I’m also looking at Cloe, she has minimal makeup and is wearing pink shirt with a long jean skirt and pale pink shoes.

        Now compare that with Cloe in “#Selfiesnaps”. She’s wearing a dark sweater with a floral short skirt and pink boots. As for Yasmin, she is actually wearing a crop top!

        Styles have changed over the years, and most teen girls and women nowadays are really into light makeup, pastels, floral and other feminine things you could find in places like Free People or Urban Outfitters. I know I am. So I feel like they are making these dolls wear what teens would actually wear in reality. On Tumblr, there’s a post where Sasha’s outfit in Study Abroad is being compared to a runway model wearing a similar outfit.

        But then again, they should start making a few lines every once in a while that is just over-the-top and eye-catching, even something controversial to spice things up.

        On the official Bratz Facebook page, there are actually certain fans there who made…well, not criticisms…more like suggestions. I don’t know if you noticed, but the new eyes are now rounder and…odd-looking. A fan suggested that they should keep their eyes narrow and sultry, which I wholeheartedly agree. Another fan said that they should continue to be edgy and bold. The person who is running this Facebook page actually responded to that suggestion and said that they “still have a fierce passion for fashion and fabulous personalities!”. But I would really like to know who is running the Facebook page, hopefully someone who plays an important role at MGA.

        The slogan “It’s good to be a Bratz!” is not a bad one. I mean, I’m pretty sure parents are gonna hate it because they still equate the word “Bratz” to actually being a spoiled brat.

        Like

      • generationnext 2015/07/26 at 10:38 #

        I do believe Jade’s outfit was a bit more childish than what they have now, but not all of the girls had that feeling. There was enough variety within one line with some looking more mature than others. And Jade’s second Strut It outfit (the box came with two outfits), the sportier outfit, was not childish at all. In the newer lines, all of them look childish. Crop tops didn’t take that away. The Bratz dolls right now are wearing poufy, flared skirts which makes them look childish. In the Strut It line of dolls, some dolls are wearing skirts that hug them and their skirts are knee-length, something even someone in their 40s would even wear. The dolls came with one skirt and one pair of pants, too. Looking at Strut It, anyone would wear those clothes on a job interview. Jade was the only exception, but her second outfit was more casual and sporty. And again, I really dislike girlish, feminine fashions. That’s why I’m not into the new ones. I prefer bolder, edgier, and breaking the “feminine” ideals. That’s what I prefer. I hate fashion that conforms. Really, that’s why I got into the Bratz. I hate the really feminine Bratz. It stifles wide-ranged appeal. More boys were into the older Bratz as well as teenagers and tweens (I was one of them). I can see little girls liking the new Bratz, but no one over the age of 9.

        To add, Strut It was not the first Bratz line. We were told by MGA they wanted this comeback to be “epic” and “disruptive, cutting edge, and awesome.” Generally, when someone says they want to do something epic, I generally thought they were going to come in with their best line ever. Of course, as I said, maybe my expectations were too high.

        I feel the part “It’s Good to be Yourself” is what EVERY doll line has used for the last two decades. It’s just not creative to me.

        The fact that MGA says they still have a “fierce passion for fashion and fabulous personalities” says it all. They really don’t want these dolls to be too similar to Carter Bryant’s design. And it may have to do with the court cases.

        Facebook is becoming a place people are too reliant on for making suggestions. I usually went straight for email. Also, there is no telling what they will use throughout the year.

        But I see the points you’re making as well. It really does open my mind to things. I’m also nervous like you. XD I just handle it differently.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lalah 2015/07/25 at 23:03 #

        Oh I forgot one thing. You said “In the here and now, I’m sorry, I’m not buying Hello My Name Is or the Selfie Snaps line.” Are you considering Study Abroad?

        Like

      • generationnext 2015/07/26 at 10:39 #

        Yep. Study Abroad will be coming home with me. 🙂 I want them all.

        And I changed my mind about Hello my Name is because I saw Sasha up close and I really like her out of them all.

        Like

  5. may23 2015/09/12 at 10:11 #

    I actually find the bratz looking good now. But they look a lot different from there original doll lines. I first saw them in 2009 and did not like them that much. But now MGAE has put something in them I love(witch is more fun clothing). So I am really excited when they are put on the shelves in my local toy shop. Plus I’m getting one fro my b-day. you made a realy good article.

    Like

    • generationnext 2015/09/12 at 12:53 #

      Well, everyone has their taste.

      I personally think the Selfie line is tacky, but I’m from the last generation. If you think it’s fun, then maybe that’s what MGA wants. They want to appeal to a new generation.

      As for me, I was looking forward to buying them. But I’m not interested in the “fun, colorful” aspect. I guess I’ll just wait for the bold Bratz, if that comes. So far, I do like Study Abroad, so there’s hope. 😉

      Like

    • generationnext 2015/09/12 at 12:53 #

      And thank you for commenting and thank you for the compliment. 🙂

      Like

  6. Riawr 2015/10/05 at 22:32 #

    What a fabulous article! You’re a really talented writer 😊
    I couldn’t agree more with what you’re saying. It’s such a shame to know that the reason why MGA couldn’t stick with the original design was possibly because of court-case agreements in regard to Carter Bryant. The original designs were so creative and fun to look at. As you implied, the dolls not only had very young fans, but also adult collecters that fell in love with some of the earlier lines. My personal favourite is the Tokyo A-go-go concept that was such an accurate representation of an early 2000s lifestyle with an Eastern touch. Lets face it, we don’t see dolls like that these days. But I give the company major props for coming up with such wonderful ideas in the past. It almost makes me cry with nostalgia just thinking about how much fun we had playing with dolls like that between 2001 to 2006 and although I’m not a fan of the new moxie-looking bratz girls, the original dolls will always hold a special place in my heart for sparking my imagination, creativity and giving me a wicked fashion sense!

    Since you mentioned the topic of breaking the rules of feminisim, I’d like to add that even though I consider myself a pretty feminine person, Bratz dolls provided that satisfaction for every person a like; they had more feminine dolls with cute clothing, AND more edgy ones which I thought was a great idea. Unlike the tree change dolls that, as you say, seemed like a silly business tactic to go viral and was honestly laughable. What determined Barbie’s success in the beginning was that prior to its launch in 1959, as I’m sure you already know, children were only given dolls that were reminiscent of themselves and their childhood. After Barbie, the target audience fell in love with the idea of playing with an older doll, which just goes to show that it is exactly what you said; the moxie and tree change dolls are just mundane and poor in design and frankly, look quite odd considering that alot of the outfits they put on the Moxie girls look like they have adult bodies and the heads of ten year olds.

    I also find it a shame that children are given a world to conform to (A mobile phone) more than they are given a world they can create on their own (dolls) these days. I guess I will always hope that the importance of social/real-life play will stick around and become more popular as years pass seeing as it is the means of a healthy, productive life and going on an Ipad all day is not. I’m a Psychology student and knowing that some children are begging for the latest iphones, bugs me so much. There has actually been evidence that isolating oneself on social media and technology can stunt one’s social growth which is a human necessity. But anyway, I feel like the doll market can be and is responsible for a child’s preference, and with the way things are going now, I can see that this market has lost its appeal for being original and imaginative.

    The bottom line of this post is that I really really would have recommended MGA to keep their original, well-known Bratz designs (there is evidence that people like things they are familiar with), and just tweaked what the Bratz have been famous for to begin with: their wicked fashion-sense. Not only would collecters be attracted to the idea of buying more dolls and attract the right fanbase, but would kick-start the Bratz for what their fans loved them which is their outrageous and creative personas. I know this iconic doll line will always have a tender spot in my heart though. Like you, I’m hoping for more aesthetically pleasing dolls in the near future! It’d be great to see them again.

    Again I’ll say that this is a great and informative article! It’s always beyond cool knowing that someone out there has the same thoughts on this as I do 🙂

    Like

    • generationnext 2015/10/06 at 12:27 #

      Likewise! I’m glad you responded to my article and had a good read. 🙂

      Truly, I feel that dolls were designed to spark the imagination. I don’t feel that the dolls influence children as much as the children get to influence the dolls. That’s how I felt as a child anyway. I always came up with my own scenarios for dolls, and having many ideas of how to do that with an array of creative fashions and accessories made playtime even more fun.

      MGA should trust what they originally worked with, but who knows if they really can. With the Carter Bryant issue, I would say it may be difficult.

      I think Bratz always offered so much for girls and that’s what made them great. They were diverse in nationality and ethnic backgrounds, and social identity, having both feminine and tomboyish looks. They were very diverse and that’s what made them special. This is why I liked that they had one pair of pants and one skirt. They offered an array of clothing for mix and match fun.

      I’ve kept my old Bratz dolls and I’m very happy with them.

      So far, the only new line that has captured my interest was Study Abroad. That line has really amazing quality and the dramatic flair I loved about Bratz. The others are kind of meh to me. :/

      Like

  7. Carter Bryant 2015/10/11 at 14:08 #

    Nice article! Well researched, as is usually not the case with most articles about Bratz. I too agree with most of your comments about the “epic” relaunch. It’s playing out just the way I suspected it would.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tom 2015/10/11 at 18:11 #

      Wait are you the Carter Bryant?!?
      If so, may I ask why this relaunch is just as you suspected it would be?And if you were still at the helm, how would you be relaunching Bratz?

      🙂

      Like

      • Carter Bryant 2015/10/11 at 19:04 #

        Hello Tom,

        yes this is Carter.

        Bratz had their day. When they first arrived, the look of the dolls was extremely different than anything out there. The proportions were wacky, the fashions reflected what young teens were either wearing or aspired to wear, and they had an ‘us against them’ attitude which was inspired by my personal love of punk rock attitude. They were about fierce friendships as much as they were about fashion. But the fashions were detailed, thought out, and could be mixed and matched within one product. The characters had personas and alter egos and in general had a fierce teenage ‘take on the world’ outlook–but were still, in my original intention, positive and good hearted characters.

        It’s all missing in the current relaunch. Yawn. Look at the original artwork compared to the new. Demure poses replace the in-your-face poses from 2001. Also, by now everyone is familiar with the big heads and big feet proportion and over the top makeup styles of other doll brands. The new Bratz are just plain ugly and uninspired. Awwwww! The packaging and graphics look like something purchased at Hobby Lobby and the fashions, hair and makeup all look banal. The themes are boring and recycled.

        If I were at the helm, I would probably be fairly powerless to give this brand much of a new kick, although I think I could have done it better than it’s being done now. I’d have tried to move the brand into 2015 and beyond instead of the blase nostalgia regurgitation treatment it’s getting . However, retailers control the biz and these days do not take risks with a lot of re-branding. In my opinion, the Bratz can’t go big, so they might as well go home.

        so, there you have it!

        by the way, could the new dolls somehow find their necks?

        –Carter

        Like

      • generationnext 2015/10/12 at 00:21 #

        Ah, so you are Carter Bryant.

        This hilariously mirrors my exact thoughts. XD I agree. If they can’t jump right in, just give it up.

        Clearly, the genius has been lost.

        “The proportions were wacky, the fashions reflected what young teens were either wearing or aspired to wear, and they had an ‘us against them’ attitude which was inspired by my personal love of punk rock attitude.”
        The fact that Bratz were even influenced by the punk rock scene just shows how unique the line was. There is not one doll line out in the doll industry that has that touch. Man, that’s what I miss. If only I could’ve given my ideas to you.

        “They were about fierce friendships as much as they were about fashion. But the fashions were detailed, thought out, and could be mixed and matched within one product. The characters had personas and alter egos and in general had a fierce teenage ‘take on the world’ outlook–but were still, in my original intention, positive and good hearted characters. ”

        As you mentioned before, these outfits are completely uninspired. Everything was at one time so well thought out. So many lines came out within one year even, and yet they all felt different. This shows the difference between true art and just a factory product meant to cover over insecurities.

        The new proportion makes it hard to notice a neck. XD

        Like

    • generationnext 2015/10/11 at 23:16 #

      Wait…You are THE Carter Bryant?

      I appreciate your comment. There are a lot of articles out there that just haven’t really told the truth behind Bratz, which was why I wanted to clear the air. On many of them, dates and times are off and information is skewed.

      As far as the re-launch goes, time always tells, but I think that only certain appearances and styles really fit with the Bratz, and the people in charge right now don’t know what they’re doing. A lot of time and care will have to go into these dolls in order for them to feel like they once did…If they ever will be the way they once were. To me, you were the genius behind these dolls. I’ve said it on some of my other Bratz articles, and will continue to point it out.

      Once again, thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

      Like

      • Carter Bryant 2015/10/12 at 01:50 #

        thank you so much! What a nice thing to say.

        I have never, ever, replied to any articles or comments re Bratz until now, but I thought yours was well written and accurate and I felt compelled to reply.

        i feel really honored that Bratz were special to you!!

        thank you so so so much!!!

        Carter

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Carter Bryant 2015/10/11 at 19:13 #

    I also forgot to say something I think is important:

    why would today’s girls/tweens/teens/whoever the Bratz are being marketed to these days….care??? There is no new look or message being brought to them in this re-launch. The kids who grew up with these dolls are now grown and are now probably the only real market for Bratz. Bratz were cool–they aren’t anymore. “It’s Good To Be Yourself”? Wow, genius.

    Like

    • Tom 2015/10/11 at 19:34 #

      It’s so good to hear your thoughts as so rarely do we get to hear creators true thoughts on their creations. It’s really refreshing particularly when it’s so often just media pandering, glazed over thoughts that don’t actually say much. That or just blatant brand bolstering. As if there are no flaws to be fixed and the brand is indestructible. Which I get from a PR standpoint but sometimes it’s nice to see companies be real-ish and not purely egotistical.

      One of my theories was that if Bratz had gone ahead in 2010 with what had been planned for release that year, kept you and your team, and almost pretended that the lawsuit(s) never happened, business as usual, instead of rebranding with the whole 10/10/10 debacle, the brand would never have gotten to the point it’s at now and 2010-2014 wouldn’t have been such an absolute disgrace. Would you agree with that or is that simply naïve to think it could have been that easy?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Tom 2015/10/11 at 19:36 #

      Oh and re retailers controlling the biz, is that why the Fashion Pixies line (for example) changed so dramatically from the movie/leaked toy fair pics to the final product?

      How is it that they have so much power over companies?

      Like

      • Carter Bryant 2015/10/12 at 02:11 #

        retailers control the shots and the direction of what hits their shelves. Even when consumers speak out to the manufacturers about what they would love to have, ultimately the retailers (buyers) will dictate every last detail that ends up on their aisles unless the mftsrs are uber powerful ie Disney or Mattel and can have some heavy handed influence on the toy buyers.

        and yes, the girls buyer from WM, Lori, would not buy the Fashion Pixies unless they got changed from a cool, dark and edgy line–pre Monster High–into the dismal and stupid disaster it became.

        It’s all really pretty sickening.

        Liked by 1 person

      • generationnext 2015/10/12 at 02:43 #

        It takes some clever marketing to move around retailers.

        Like

      • Tom 2015/10/13 at 05:41 #

        It’s nuts that they can have so much control over what you produce! I mean it makes sense to a point given that they’re taking a ‘risk’ in selling the product and might not make a profit; but you’d think that with consistently successful/popular brands and products the likelihood of them not making a profit would be very slim.

        Is a way around the problem to offer the product, or line in this case, as an exclusive to a retailer? Or does it not work like that?

        🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Tom 2015/10/11 at 19:40 #

      (Also I think I forgot to mention what a huge honour it is to be able to hear your thoughts and discuss them with you. It’s kinda surreal actually!) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • generationnext 2015/10/12 at 00:30 #

      This isn’t even a real re-launch really. It’s a rushed start once again. It’s certainly the opposite of epic.

      The kids of today don’t care. And it seems like the line will appeal more to parents than children, if even parents care to bring these dolls home for the holidays.

      It’s Good To Be Yourself has been used so often in the doll market, I feel like it’s a staple for failure.

      There is no genius, just mediocre doll products at best. Nostalgia is what keeps people interested, not necessarily an excellent product.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Carter Bryant 2015/10/11 at 21:00 #

    Hi Tom,

    that is really kind of you! You know what, I am honored that there is a group of fans of the original Bratz. That means so much to me. It’s surreal for me too.

    Like

    • Tom 2015/10/11 at 21:54 #

      You’re most welcome! Did you ever expect Bratz to become as successful as they did?
      I think for many of us Bratz hold so many fond memories, I guess like Barbie does for others. There’s something about them that is so unique (or there was) and so forward-thinking that it’s enthralled us.
      I know for me Bratz shaped who I am. And I think that when you compare pre 2010 and post 2010 Bratz, It’s clear that pre had so much more vision and commitment to the brand. Whereas now it just feels like they’re grasping at straws, fumbling around, and trying to be trendy and current; which to me is something Bratz pre 2010 never really were. They were always fashion-forward. Constantly pushing the envelope. I mean admittedly there were moments where quality lacked but it wasn’t for long and the vision was still evident.
      I think for me the greatest ‘injustice’ (there’s a better word to use here but I can’t think of it) was that the planned line up for 2009 (World Hotspotz, Fashion Capitals, Jade’s Iconz playset, etc.) never made it into stores. It looked like what would have followed could have been a resurgence in the brand.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Carter Bryant 2015/10/12 at 01:59 #

        No, never. I thought they might get into stores like Hot Topic or Claires. Never ever imagined that they would compete with Barbie.

        Wow, that is really awesome that Bratz hold happy memories for you! I never would have guessed that the dolls would have had the impact they did.

        thank you Tom!!!

        Liked by 1 person

    • generationnext 2015/10/12 at 01:15 #

      The real long-time fans know what Bratz have the potential to be. There will always be true blue fans who saw your vision for the dolls and recognize your contributions.

      Thanks once again for reading and commenting. I’m happy to see my readers get into such an interesting discussion. XD To see someone such as you find interest in my blog is so amazing. I really am encouraged to bring honor to the original Bratz.

      Like

      • Carter Bryant 2015/10/12 at 01:53 #

        thank you again.

        that makes me so happy that Bratz brought joy to you!

        Like

    • Mike 2015/10/12 at 17:18 #

      Carter, can you work for MGA again? Or is that literally impossible because of legal issues or something?

      I’ve been a huge fan of Bratz since the first day I got Style It! Cloe, and these dolls are a huge part of my childhood. Which is why I can’t help but give MGA the benefit of the doubt, and buy these new 2015 dolls, because quite frankly, I can’t bare not seeing them in stores again.

      To be honest, the 2015 Bratz is growing on me, even though I was initially horrified when I first saw them. I don’t know if it’s because I’m being delusional or optimistic or loving anything that even has the slightest thing to do with Bratz, but I’m noticing here that MGA is at least trying harder now than they did in recent years.

      Snowkissed is reminiscent of Wintertime Wonderland
      Sleepover Party is reminiscent of Slumber Party
      Metallic Madness is reminiscent of…let’s say, Formal Funk?
      Study Abroad is sorta/kinda reminiscent of different lines like Pretty N Punk (UK), Ooh La La (France), Toyko A Go-Go (Japan), etc.

      So we have these new 2015 lines with extra outfits and tons of accessories, which reminds me of the older lines but with a modern twist due to the fact that fashion has changed over the years. There’s quality and attention to details as well. Kids of today who didn’t get to experience the older lines can now have a chance with these new lines that are reminiscent of the older lines.

      I guess the point I’m trying to make here is….do you really think it’s that bad? Do you think this re-launch is going to fail? Carter, you created a brand that is really quite strong and resilient. There’s been ups and downs, and yet 15 years later, they’re still here. That means something. So I hope you’re not too disappointed with the direction your dolls are going.

      I think kids of this generation will like it. It already made it in the Target’s/Toys R Us’ hottest toys lists. Sure, the Bratz may not have as much sass and attitude (yet), but MGA is pumping out tons of lines, playsets and fashion packs all at once. They are providing way more than Mattel ever did with their own dolls in a span of a few months.

      However, it would be fantastic if you were to come back to MGA. I think that’s one of many things I would want in life, is for you to be back in MGA and work on the Bratz again. Or is that too far-fetched? 😦

      Like

      • Carter Bryant 2015/10/12 at 20:39 #

        Hi Mike!

        that’s so awesome that you grew up loving Bratz! That was the biggest thrill for me years ago knowing that something I did made kids so happy!

        to answer your question, no, I would not work with MGA again. It has nothing to do with the lawsuits etc etc but simply the way I was treated over the years by the leader of that company. I chose not to make the same mistake again.

        in any case, I’m happy Bratz are a great part of your memories and your life!

        Carter

        Like

      • generationnext 2015/10/14 at 16:18 #

        Well, Bratz may be doing well, but Carter ain’t getting paid for it. So that’s not good news for him!

        What’s worse is that Bratz isn’t flourishing the way he ENVISIONED they would. They might be popular and modern and just good enough, but they certainly lack the same fierce attitude.

        Imagine if someone took your paintings or music, changed everything and got really popular AND YOU GOT NOTHING for your contributions? That’s likely how Carter is feeling.

        I think it completely sucks that he’s not getting any royalties.

        What sucks is that he couldn’t give the idea to someone else.

        Like

      • Carter Bryant 2015/10/14 at 17:45 #

        hi and thank you so much for your earlier comment re royalties. I really appreciate that and you’re 100% correct in your facts.

        My last project on the shelves was Pinkie Cooper and the Jet Set Pets. It’s unfortunately been discontinued but some might still be available on ebay. I’m currently shopping a new project in the toy industry and may have some ‘art’ dolls coming out in awhile. And thank you–so nice of you to like my work so much!!

        Carter

        Like

      • generationnext 2015/10/16 at 18:36 #

        Discontinued?! I really have to collect now. Can’t wait for the art dolls, too.

        Like

    • MaxTheGreat 2015/10/12 at 21:24 #

      Hey Carter, I have a question. In the Slumber Party line, how come Cloe’s bag says “Cowboy” on it. It’s kinda random, but funny. Is it an inside joke? Cause I’d figured it would be “Angel” or something.

      Like

      • Carter Bryant 2015/10/12 at 22:01 #

        Hi Max the Great!

        ha ha! that’s an awesome question! If I remember right, her pj’s had a cowboy print on them, so I guess that’s where that came from, but yeah, kinda random, kinda tongue in cheek I guess!

        One of my all time favorite lines btw. That one was fun to design.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Taylor 2015/10/13 at 02:59 #

      Hi Carter,
      so glad that you’re here! what’s your favorite line? Mine is Wild Life Safari.

      ~ taylor

      Like

      • Carter Bryant 2015/10/13 at 10:40 #

        Hi Taylor!

        I love that line too. I have several favorites so it’s kinda hard to single any one out, but I really liked Winter Wonderland and Sun Kissed summer a lot. Working on the boy dolls in that line was a fun challenge!

        Liked by 1 person

      • generationnext 2015/10/14 at 16:23 #

        You were so GOOD with boy dolls. There are not a lot of designers that do justice to the fellas. I often feel so bad for them. But Bratz boyz always had an array of clothing and accessories.

        Like

    • SnapCap 2015/10/13 at 21:19 #

      Hey Carter, can you draw an image of how a 2015 Bratz doll would look like in your vision?

      Like

      • Carter Bryant 2015/10/13 at 22:39 #

        Hi SnapCap!

        ha ha, well, yes I could, but, no, I won’t. I have nothing to do with the current Bratz nor am I receiving any kind of royalties (which is bullshit) so that would be a waste of my time.

        I’m on to new things these days.

        Liked by 1 person

      • generationnext 2015/10/14 at 16:25 #

        What new projects do you have in the works? Any new designs? I buy anything you make!

        Like

  10. Carter Bryant 2015/10/14 at 17:49 #

    thanks generation next about the boy dolls! It would be so great if there were more great ‘guy’ fashion dolls, and a bigger market for them!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. may23 2015/10/24 at 09:13 #

    Barbie is mean

    Like

    • generationnext 2015/10/24 at 13:51 #

      Barbie didn’t do anything. XD

      I don’t think Barbie is mean, she’s just trying to hold on just like the Bratz.

      Like

  12. bratzsuperfan97 2016/01/11 at 19:28 #

    Bratz snow kissed jade is amazing though.

    Like

    • generationnext 2016/01/12 at 12:03 #

      She’s the best one in the line to me, too! lol I just think other two are unrealistic. Who wears a crop top in the snow? XD

      Thanks for commenting.

      Like

      • bratzsuperfan97 2016/01/12 at 19:53 #

        Yes snow kissed jade is awesome I own all of the dolls in the #snowkissed line and out of the three she’s my favorite 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  13. David 2016/01/30 at 23:50 #

    H

    Like

  14. D.G. 2016/03/23 at 00:43 #

    You’re kidding, right? The newest line of the Bratz is pathetic. The eyes are disgusting, the eyebrows arched and they look permanently surprised, their hair and clothes are much cheaper quality, it’s so ugly. The beautiful face of the Bratz is ruined. And none of my sisters or cousins ever gave a shi* to the ‘clothing’ of Bratz. They are dolls, plastic toys, that do not and are not meant to look like humans, none of us are trying to achieve some sort of fake, fictional ‘plastic look’, so all those moron ‘critics’ who had any issues with Bratz ‘clothing’ or ‘body features’ are mentally demented. None of my sisters or I have ever ‘looked at’ Bratz that way. They are toys. If I have a wooden doll, would I want to become wood? ‘Short skirts’ don’t actually look like ‘short skirts’ on dolls. They’re just fake items. They were gorgeous, and now they’re ruined.

    Like

    • generationnext 2016/03/27 at 12:58 #

      LOL ROFL ” If I have a wooden doll, would I want to become wood?”

      This made me fall out. I lost myself a moment with this hilarious comment.

      I agree with you. I disagree with the direction of ‘Tree Change’ and I also feel that women who have stamped themselves “feminists” have forgotten what it truly means to feel “empowered”.
      Mostly, everyone forgets what it was like to be a child. Dolls do not influence kids, kids influence dolls. THEY are the ones that dress, imagine, and explore, not a plastic toy. The companies made Bratz because that’s what KIDS wanted. MGA didn’t magically influence kids to want them. Bratz were gorgeous and innovative. That’s what’s missing now.

      Thanks for commenting. I appreciate your spin on the Bratz. I hope they return back to their original state.

      Like

  15. Taylor 2016/06/19 at 21:07 #

    Bratz Suck

    Like

    • generationnext 2016/06/20 at 11:05 #

      The newer ones kind of do. :/ Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Like

    • Alli 2017/04/17 at 19:53 #

      Are you serious. Why would you read this then? Good Bye Negativity!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Eliza 2016/08/07 at 11:09 #

    I really enjoyed reading this entire page, the fantastic review as well as the detailed comments.
    I remember owning 2 or 3 barbies which enabled some fun playtime with my friends. However, my most memorable event with a doll happened when some family friends of my parents gave me a surprise gift. And that surprise gift was Yasmin with her fabulous jeans. It went absolutely everywhere with me.
    It was my only one from bratz but I really treasured it.
    There is no doubt.. Of course the newly manufactured bratz doll has lost its magic. Its close to the original one but that one special spark is gone. Its like a very talented impersonator who can do everything like the original star, even as far as looking eerily similar. However, we all know that it’s just not the authentic person and will never be exactly a-like.
    Its a shame that the real bratz wont be back, I personally will only buy the old version from ebay. I will never be happy with collecting the present day dolls. Some things are just meant to stay in our memories! And thankfully its a great one!
    Nostalgia can be both magical and painful but life just goes on and nothing really stays permanent, fortunately or unfortunately.
    It was a phenomenal hit, that it was 🙂

    Like

    • generationnext 2016/08/07 at 20:43 #

      I think your comment is very powerful and made me think.

      I agree that the original magic is gone. Though the original dolls appear alright at best, it’s clear that it needs a whole lot of work.

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading everything. I equally enjoy reading all of the comments from fellow Bratz fans and other readers.

      I also grew up with mostly Barbie. I also got into Bratz when I was a bigger kid. The revamp is a reminder that some things just have to stop.

      I learned that Betty Spaghetty was coming back and felt the same way about that reboot. It’s time for some of these companies to just hang it up.

      Thanks once again for commenting. 🙂

      Like

  17. Eliza 2016/08/07 at 11:40 #

    Oh and also, about parents terrified of such dolls influencing their children… I am flabbergasted.
    Never in my life have I attempted or even had the idea of trying to become a plastic doll. I dont know what these parents are thinking of. My mom was perfectly contented with the presence of bratz, and if she really opposed this doll due to its clothes or looks, I would’ve been seriously confused.
    In fact, I can argue that lots of kids by age 10 have seen worse things than a doll with some nice makeup and trendy, bold clothes. Mostly due to internet and real life situations.
    Perhaps these parents have some sort of insecurities themselves, thats why they act out in such a manner. What, are they afraid their child will put on some lipstick? Heck, I know so many kids who explored with cosmetics which were obviously bought by their parents. In fact, they were sets made primarily for kids! And none, absolutely none of those kids were influenced badly by it.
    I mean, I dont want to be smart alex but a doll cannot cause catastrophic changes on a childs being. There are tons of other factors, the main one being the parent.

    Like

    • generationnext 2016/08/07 at 20:48 #

      Agreed. If parents are so afraid of kids putting on make-up, perhaps the parents in their households should limit the amount of make-up within the home. Most children want to wear what they see their parents wearing, not what they see on a “cartoonish” doll.

      That’s like watching a cartoon and assuming a child will aspire to be like the cartoon and it will somehow influence them in their adult years. XD It just doesn’t make sense to me. But some parents are “old school” and probably many of them have ancient viewpoints. With so much technology and exposure to the world, kids know the difference between Mickey Mouse at Disney world and a real mouse. Many kids are happy Mickey isn’t real and would never desire him to be. It would be creepy.

      Like

  18. Alli 2017/04/17 at 19:49 #

    I’m really glad that they’re attempting to bring the old bratz look back but let’s face it.. it will never be the same in my eyes. I was probably in kindergarten at the time and my mom always wanted to get me a bratz doll. She thought they were the coolest dolls ever. When I got a bit older I finally decided to get one and really loved playing with it then all the sudden they started to disappear from the store. I was really upset and bumbed out. I was sick of playing with barbie and wanted something new, the bratz. When I found out they were coming back in 2011. I was so excited and already had planned out which doll I wanted but when I got there I almost started bawling when I didn’t see the old bratz. I saw these new, fake looking barbies. I kept thinking they would bring them out but they never did. I decided to buy a few and absolutely HATED them. They made me angry. I’ve had to buy them online for the past 8 or so years. It’s pretty sad when your parents ask what you want for your birthday and you have to look online for them. I stumbled upon a page a while back that showed pictures of their unreleased dolls and saw quite a few dolls that really spoke to me and I wanted them badly but I knew I and everyone else would never get them. Why is it that whenever something great comes it never lasts long because of people messing things up. We’re always stuck with the just basic, nothing ever incredible lasts long. Then the amount of people criticizing them was just ridiculous! It’s like, do you seriously have nothing else better to do than criticize a doll, grow up. If you don’t like it, MOVE ON!!! I agreed with so many points you made though. I’m just really annoyed with the other people out there who don’t see things from different perspectives like you do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • generationnext 2017/04/18 at 21:08 #

      Yes, there are many critics out there who just don’t get what made the Bratz special. People are entitled to their taste, but when you start getting into the political aspects of a doll line and how you think it will influence children, that’s when it gets messy.

      I got into the Bratz when I was 10 years old, before they were released and were just artwork on a website. XD I got my first Bratz doll at around 11 or 12. These dolls were meant for tweens and teens and young adults. They spoke to that generation. Retailers, competition, the court system, soccer moms, and feminists got in the way.

      There is a rumor the Bratz are going to be coming back AGAIN in 2018. No official statement has been released yet, but I hope they finally get it right. If not, the brand will truly die.

      Thank you for commenting and reading. 🙂

      Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. How Well Do You Know the Bratz? | Generation Next - 2015/11/04

    […] In honor of the Bratz return, I’ve done a little review: Bratz Are Back Again in 2015: What Happened to the Bratz? […]

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  2. Say Good-bye, Bratz Dolls Are Being Discontinued! | Generation Next - 2016/10/23

    […] To read more about the Bratz story: What Happened to the Bratz? […]

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  3. Bratz dolls VS. Feminists: “Oversexualized” or “Empowering”? | Generation Next - 2017/05/16

    […] In a former article, I reviewed what happened to the Bratz in the last couple of years, based on all the information I have: Bratz Are Back Again in 2015: What Happened to the Bratz? […]

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