Ken turns 60, two years after the life of his best friend Barbie.
Metel began reproducing the original Ken doll on Thursday to mark its 1961 debut. The slender doll wears a red swimsuit with blonde hair, comes in red sandals and a yellow towel. Over the years, Ken’s body type, hair texture and fashion choices have become more diverse.
The company said it was working with several fashion designers to celebrate Ken’s birthday and show him as an influencer. The designs will be visible on Instagram with the @BarbieStyle handle.
“Ken, like Barbie, has always been a reflection of his time,” says Robert Best, Mattel’s senior director of Barbie design. Ken’s early, pure ’60s version became much more vulgar in that first decade.
“I would say that Ken is a good friend, a best friend, a best friend who supports Barbie,” Best said.
Natural Barbie, released in 1959, also came in a swimsuit with a minimalist strategy, encouraging consumers to buy outfits and accessories.
“In fact, this was the game, you bought a doll and then added different fashions to play different careers, roles that the dolls would play,” Best said.
Best noted that Mattel sold 76 million dolls last year, a figure that “shows that Ken is an important part of that world, contributing to Barbie’s success.”
Barbie և Ken is named after the children of Mattel co-founders Eliot and Ruth Handler.