Creatable World thumbnail 1
Creatable World thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Creatable World

2020 (manufactured)
Place of origin

Object details
Object type
Materials and techniques
Brief description
Creatable World non-binary fashion doll, Mattel, 2020
Production typeMass produced
Historical context
Dolls have been a popular children’s toy for several centuries. In the past, they were used as tools for girls to learn and practice motherhood skills, as well for roles in imaginative play and early years companionship. Prior to the mid-19th century, the art of commercial doll-making was carried out by professionals in small workshops, usually utilising painted wooden heads and bodies (see Misc.49-1963), and materials such as leather for limbs. For families who could not afford to buy a doll, found objects such as animal bones and rags were used to make them. The popularity of dolls meant that they eventually began to be produced industrially in bisque and composition, with the finest examples being manufactured in France and Germany.

The ability to dress and redress dolls has long been one of their primary appeals, and they have tended to closely follow fashion trends throughout their history. During the 20th century, the spread of mass global culture through print, film and television enabled fashionable trends to spread wider. This, combined with new materials and manufacturing techniques, created a new wave of cheaper fashion dolls made from PVC and similar plastics.

Mattel Inc. are a long-established manufacturer of toys, best-known for the Barbie range of fashion dolls they have produced since 1959. Mattel and Barbie have received a steady stream of consumer criticism since the 1970s for a lack of diversity and promotion of unrealistic body image by their products. Since 1980, when the first Black Barbie was launched, Mattel has attempted to redress the ethnic imbalance of the range and, in more recent years, have introduced a wider range of body shapes for both female and male dolls.

In 2019, Mattel introduced Creatable World – a series of six customisable, non-gender-specific dolls, designed to ‘keep labels out and invite everyone in’. Mattel developed the dolls in response to desire from consumers for less-gendered toys. They are sold as kits containing gender-neutral dolls with differing skin tones, as well as versatile clothing and accessories which provide many possibilities for storytelling, variety and self-expression.
Other number
dc-319 - Model number
Accession number

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

Record createdFebruary 5, 2021
Record URL
Download as: JSONIIIF Manifest