Bratz dolls have long been viewed as the “anti-Barbie doll.” Bratz is hot-tempered and rebellious. Barbie dolls are preppy and traditional. Now, after the record-breaking Barbie movie, the Bratz are making a comeback, and they’re recruiting Kylie Jenner to do it.
Jenner, who has been compared to a cat-eyed, pouting doll in the past, is “bratzified” in the brand’s first celebrity collaboration. The pop culture icon is launching a line of dolls that look like her, including one that’s going for as much as $100. The Bratz-Barbie dynamic goes beyond aesthetic comparisons — Bratz’s maker, MGA Entertainment, has been engaged in a nearly decade-long legal battle with Barbie parent company Mattel over plagiarism and ownership claims.
Bratz was launched to the public in 2001. The dolls’ unique look is defined by arched brows, bold eyeshadow, and full, glossy lips. They wore stylish outfits reminiscent of ’90s Britney Spears and were known for their ethnic diversity. But they have also been criticized for being too sexually explicit, with some parents believing the dolls are not suitable for their young children.
Still, Bratz has steadily chipped away at Barbie’s market share, reportedly grossing more than $2 billion Sales reached 150 million units in the first five years after launch, and more than 150 million units were sold within ten years after launch. By 2004, Bratz outsold Barbie dolls in the UK, according to the BBC. That same year, Mattel launched a messy legal battle against MGA Entertainment, entangled the two manufacturing giants in years of tortuous litigation.
you don’t own me
Mattel accuses Bratz founder Carter Bryant of stealing Mattel’s trade secrets in the lawsuit. Barbie’s parents allege Bryant had been working at Mattel when he first designed what would eventually become Barbie’s competitor. In 2008, a jury found the claim true and awarded Mattel $100 million, but the Ninth Circuit quickly overturned the verdict and ordered a new trial.
The tables turned when a federal district court judge allowed MGA to file a counterclaim before the second trial began. The maker of Bratz accused Mattel of corporate espionage in toy stores and conspiring to remove Bratz products from its shelves. In April 2011, a jury sided with MGA, dismissing Mattel’s original claim and ordering Mattel to pay $309 million in damages and attorneys’ fees.
The verdict didn’t last long either. Nearly two years later, in January 2013, a three-judge jury unanimously ruled that the trial judge erred in allowing the jury to consider MGA’s counterclaims because they were unrelated to Mattel’s original lawsuit. But the panel allowed MGA to keep its $137 million in legal fees while the smaller competitor kept selling its dolls.
“Bratizification” by Kylie Jenner
Now, beauty and fashion mogul Jenner has joined the fray with a new line of Bratz dolls. First announced on August 1, the collaboration with Jenner is the brand’s first celebrity Bratz collection, which includes “Bratzified Kylie” miniatures of some of her most iconic looks, such as the pale Purple Versace gown. The mini collectibles come in packs of two and retail for $9.99 on Bratz’s website.
On August 21, the partnership expanded with the release of the “Bratz x Kylie Fashion Doll – Night and Day” ($29.99 pre-order retail on the brand’s website) and the “Bratz x Kylie 24-inch Fashion Doll” (pre-order retail priced at $10.99). $99.99 at Amazon.
Jenner, 26, is the youngest member of the famous Kardashian-Jenner clan, which includes sisters Kim and Kendall Jenner and mother Kris Kris Jenner.Her cosmetics company, Kylie Cosmetics, helped boost her net worth to $680 million Forbes Jenner has been the youngest self-made woman for six consecutive years. (The “self-made” moniker sparked backlash considering Jenner was the youngest child in a wealthy celebrity family; she defended herself, telling Paper that her parents, Kris and Caitlyn Jenner, were in disowned her at 15, and while she “does have a platform … none of my money has been inherited.”)
Jenner said in a press release that she “has been a Bratz fan since I was a kid, and I’ve always wanted my own Bratz doll.” She’s even been compared to a group of people, including her own family.
“Kylie truly embodies everything Bratz has stood for since its inception,” Bratz creative director Jasmine Larian said in the same release, describing her as “disruptive and rebellious,” “full of Vitality and expressiveness”.
But not all Bratz fans are happy that Jenner is representing the brand. Some have criticized the company for choosing white women as partners because the different skin tones and hair textures of the Bratz dolls give them cultural significance and differentiate them from Barbie dolls, especially among girls of color. Jenner and other members of the Kardashian-Jenner family have also been accused of “blackfishing” — a term for white influencers who appropriate black beauty standards and aesthetics, such as darkening their skin or leaving them in Fulani braid.
one person release On the social media platform X formerly known as Twitter: “Give Kelly (a white woman who modeled her face/body on a black woman) her own bratz in front of a real black woman The doll (arguably a more urban/black one) is… weird.”
In many ways, Jenner was the smart choice for this collaboration, given her enormous social reach and Bratz-esque aura. However, that doesn’t mean she’s necessarily the right choice in a society that often overlooks women of color in favor of white women.