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Former fashion designer restores discarded Barbies to give them new life with migrant children

Barbara Lakin for years has given fabulous makeovers to discarded Barbies so that migrant children do not feel left out.

Former fashion designer restores discarded Barbies to give them new life with migrant children
Cover Image Source: Instagram/ Photo by @teamtlcnyc

Barbie is and will always be a cultural phenomenon. Her iconic status was further cemented by the record-breaking success of the namesake movie. Though the movie has led to a legion of new fans for the doll, for years, there have been many people defending its value and emphasizing its importance for young girls. One such individual is Barbara Lakin, who has been giving discarded Barbies makeovers for years for a noble cause, reports Spectrum News.

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A post shared by Team TLC NYC | The Little Shop of Kindness (@teamtlcnyc)


Lakin is a resident of New York with a studio in East Village. She spends hours in her studio cleaning and tidying up the dolls to give to the migrant children who reside in the City's Shelter System. The process takes a lot of time, with every dress taking at least two hours to make. The only reason she puts so much of her energy into it is because the children absolutely adore the doll and because she doesn't want them to miss out.

Talking about how the dolls are when they come to her initially, she shared: "Some of the dolls are really kind of, they look like they've been dragged through a hedge backward. They are really disheveled. They have crazy hair. It's all matted." She also points out how most of the dolls donated are White Barbie dolls.


According to Lakin, it is a cause of concern because many of these dolls are going to Hispanic girls and in her own words, "it's just not right." She feels this way because these girls will not find themselves represented in these dolls.

Mattel has introduced dolls with different skin tones, but it is difficult to find them in donations or garage sales. Therefore, Lakin tries to bring in the aspect of diversity with her dresses. As far as her making process is concerned, she is absolutely meticulous throughout the process and does not take anything lightly.


After making the dolls, she gives them away with the help of Team TLC's migrant relief donation center in Bryant Park. While giving away the dolls, she tries to find father-daughter duos to give away the shirt she makes from the same dress material as her refurbished Barbies. Recent conversations have shown how the release of "Barbie" has encouraged girls to accept their femininity, reports Scroll. In such a process, having the help of one's father is crucial, as seen by the joy of multiple girls going into movie theatres with their fathers all dressed up in pink, according to Mirror. For this reason, Lakin tries to make fathers a part of the whole experience so that migrant kids also feel the same kind of support.


Lakin also tries to make every Barbie unique to make the kids feel special. She explained: "I think anything they know that has a personal touch makes a huge difference." For her efforts, she has never taken any kind of monetary reimbursement. For her, the reward for her hard work comes when the kids smile and are comforted by her refurbished Barbie. Through her efforts, she wants to ensure that none of these kids miss out on the experience of having a Barbie because of economic issues.

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