From Barbie® to Bathing Suits: How Mattel’s Barbie® inspired a Woman’s Swimwear Business - Aging But DANGEROUS!

A 50+ year old woman being inspired by the likes of Mattel’s Barbie® for women’s swimwear?  It’s true. Barbie®  led the way for me! Poseidon’s Daughter Swimwear whose target market is women age 30+ is the business idea I began to develop three years ago and launched in May 2016.

I came to know Mattel’s Barbie® intimately, when I was a young woman in my early 30’s. My first career was in 3D computer animation. When I first began this art-related career in the 1980s, only short commercials were possible, and most of the animation was created for male audiences. When our small Midwestern company received a request from Mattel to create a 3D animated Barbie®, I jumped at the chance. My animated Barbie® caused a minor sensation at Mattel. Our company became the go-to for Mattel Barbie® computer animation, and I animated Mattel Barbie® until she was coming out of my ears. It was a blast! Check out the vintage 1997 Olympic Skater Barbie® Commercial with Tara Lipinski that I directed.

Photo from the online movie of 1997 Olympic Skater Barbie® Commercial with Tara Lipinski

1997 Olympic Skater Barbie®  (Click Here To Watch Video)

I animated Barbie® with the conviction that she is smart, capable, kind, professional, and knew she was beautiful.  Accidental beauty happens occasionally, but mostly it is constructed to meet cultural norms: the make-up, the shoes, the dress….. you gotta have good raw materials and be the right age, but much of being striking is in your personal presentation, and having that beautiful inner person fully integrated into all that we see and experience.

Having the privilege to help shape Mattel’s Barbie® in the 1990’s taught me to consider all aspects of a person in order to communicate character and values. Every bit of Mattel’s Barbie® is analyzed and discussed: hair, make-up, and dress are the obvious; but just as important are less the tangible qualities  that communicate character and are distinctive to culture:  Your thoughts and  values, body language, interaction with others, what you say, how you say it, and what you do.

15 years after my Barbie® animation days I began creating swimwear for women. I have drawn on all that I learned animating Mattel’s Barbie® in developing women’s swimwear styles. Instead of young girls who envisioned and embraced their future selves as successful young women through Barbie, I focused on developing a product for women that embraces and celebrates women’s current selves as they are. When the outer youth maybe fading, the inner youth wants to stay involved and connected with life. Participating fully at the beach or pool means our swimwear fits comfortably and we look good in it. We can’t be worrying about what’s hanging out, and not able to move freely as if in a girdle. Did Cinderella worry about her Ball gown once the Fairy Godmother put her in the proper attire? No. And so it should be with women swimming in public.


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