Barbie's friend gets major makeover at Mattel launches 15 new Ken dolls

Barbie's companion Ken has undergone a wide-ranging makeover with the UK launch of varying body sizes, skin tones and hairstyles including a man bun and corn rows.

Wednesday, 21st June 2017, 11:31 am
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:41 am
Ken through the ages

Mattel has released 15 new dolls - all named Ken - in his "most diverse line-up to date", starting with two new "broad" and "slim" body types.

The dolls also feature seven different skin tones, the range of eye and hair colours, nine hairstyles and modern fashion looks including the man bun and corn rows hairstyles.

Ken's makeover follows Mattel introducing three new Barbie body types - tall, curvy and petite - to widespread approval as part of efforts to modernise the global brand.

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Ken through the ages

Mattel said the Barbie brand "has always reflected the times, so modernising Ken is the next step in the brand's evolution to offer more diverse products".

Ken, full name Ken Carson, was first introduced by Mattel in 1961 as Barbie's boyfriend - always standing half an inch taller than her - and has gone on to experience some 40 occupations and model the full range of the decades' fashions, including 1993's Magic Earring Ken.

The two original versions had him sporting molded plastic hair in either blond or brown and wearing red swimming trunks and cork sandals.

Ken met Barbie on the set of their first television commercial together in 1961 but they went on to break up on Valentine's Day in 2004.

Ken through the ages

They rekindled their epic romance on Valentine's Day 2011 and are still a couple today.

Lisa McKnight, senior vice president and general manager for the Barbie brand, said: "By continuing to expand our product line, we are redefining what a Barbie or Ken doll looks like to this generation.

"Evolving Ken was a natural evolution for the brand and allows girls to further personalise the role they want him to play in Barbie's world."

The company said sales of the Barbie Fashionistas line continued to "high double-digit growth" globally.

Mattel photo of some of the new hair styles for Barbie's companion Ken

The dolls have gone on sale in the UK with a recommended retail price of £9.99.

Ken through the ages
Ken through the ages
Mattel photo of some of the new hair styles for Barbie's companion Ken