I recently received a Barbie catalogue and was excited to discover the Dolls of the World Barbie Collection. They now have internationally-themed Barbies from ten different countries, including Australia, China, and India. But nowhere did I see one from Malaysia. Quickly, I dug out my old Barbie and went to work.
This is Malaysia Barbie's story:
Malaysia Barbie arrived at Kate’s house as just a regular blonde Barbie, in a black-stripped bathing suit, around 1960.
Coming from a long line of tailors and furriers, it was in Kate’s genetics to start crafting clothes for Barbie – after all, a girl needs more than just a swimsuit. From scraps of fabrics and trims, using needle and thread, Barbie soon had numerous garments. The stitching might have been a little large, but she now had her own, original outfits.
From there, Kate went on to sew and design many of her own clothes, even though Barbie was now relegated to a shoebox in the closet. But Kate never forgot that her first designs were for her doll.
Years later, Kate would travel to many exotic countries to live and work. Generally, the first souvenir shopping trip would be to the local fabric stalls, where she would eye the wonderful assortment of regional motifs and envision all sorts of fantastic attire.
Recently, Kate returned to California and found that old shoebox where Barbie had been quietly waiting all those years. Since she wasn’t dressed properly - all of her wardrobe having been tossed out somewhere along the line - Kate quickly pulled out some batik fabric she had purchased while living in Malaysia. (Although there is a good chance it was actually made in Indonesia.) Soon Barbie had a very cool outfit, inspired by the sarongs of the region.
Barbie is now back sitting proudly on a shelf, enjoying her retirement in a stunning new number.