It’s been yet another weird week in retail.
Mattel's diverse new Ken doll lineup includes a man bun, Ikea's bowls are on fire and Abercrombie's attempt at shedding its cool kid vibe for inclusive branding is backfiring.
This, and more, in this week’s Retail Therapy.
Ken dolls get a hipster makeover
Barbie, arguably Mattel’s most classic toy brand, has changed little since its debut in 1959. The female dolls have, for the most part, always been big-breasted, blonde and white. The male Ken dolls have, for the most part, always been buff, brazen and white too. But the time of being a Barbie girl in a Barbie world is over because not everyone looks like Barbie — or Ken for that matter.
The brand has gotten flak from activists and consumers over the years and has launched a set of more diverse (albeit still full-chested) dolls. This week, it aimed to take a big step forward with the expansion of its Fashionistas line to create “its most diverse Ken doll lineup to date.” The lineup includes 15 new male dolls that come in three body types — slim, broad and original. While these sound more like Wendy’s Frosty flavors than body types, Mattel touted the fact that the new dolls have a variety of eye colors, skin tones, modern fashion looks and hairstyles. Perhaps most notably — the man bun.
This particular rendition of Ken caught the ire of social media, thanks to his broad shoulders, brunette man bun and totally douchey aesthetic. The character sports boat shoes, distressed denim and a short-sleeved hipster button-up shirt.
“Evolving Ken was a natural evolution for the brand and allows girls to further personalize the role they want him to play in Barbie’s world.” Who exactly is Ken in Barbie’s modern world? Apparently a frat bro, among other things.
New Ken doll has a man bun. Climbing back into bed. pic.twitter.com/AiuPUxS7hM— Zach Braff (@zachbraff) June 20, 2017
Does man bun Ken doll also come with a Soul Cycle membership, vintage record player, and $50,000 in student loan debt? pic.twitter.com/ulEwGSxxb1— Emily Jashinsky (@emilyjashinsky) June 20, 2017
finally children can play with a doll that looks like their future ex pic.twitter.com/abK2I6QH3Z— Naomi LaChance (@lachancenaomi) June 20, 2017
The Ken doll with the man bun comes with a bottle of wine from Trader Joe's that it won't shut up about.— Rex Huppke (@RexHuppke) June 20, 2017
Does the new man bun Ken doll also come with a tiny vape? pic.twitter.com/OoBf1mDRTA— Lord Single Malt (@Singlemaltfiend) June 20, 2017
Ikea's products are on fire — literally
Swedish furniture retailer Ikea has been on fire in the fashion world, earlier this year sparking a high-fashion, blue-bag craze that inspired luxury brand Balenciaga and DIY-ers alike. But this week, it just sparked fire — actual fire.
The company is apparently investigating the safety of a stainless steel serving bowl after a Swedish man complained the bowl set his grapes on fire while sitting out in the sun, Swedish news website The Local reports. The man who lost his prized grapes, Richard Walter, posted a video to his Facebook page showing a piece of paper catching fire after being placed in the same bowl.
Is the $4.99 bowl a death trap waiting to happen? Probably not, Ikea clarified: “Many different parameters would have to converge for the content of the bowl to overheat and that the risk for this to happen is very low.”
No Abercrombie, Pride isn’t about everyone
Abercrombie & Fitch wants you to know it isn’t just for cool kids anymore. But not everyone is so convinced by their suddenly inclusive rebranding.
The teen apparel retailer, known for its perfume-drenched, dimly lit stores, made an effort this week to become socially engaged in support of LGBT Pride Month with the roll-out of a new campaign called “Made for Love.” The campaign is in partnership with The Trevor Project, a nonprofit focused on suicide prevention efforts in the LGBT community, and the company released a limited collection of rainbow-hued apparel and accessories. At first, consumers were pleasantly surprised to see the popular-kid brand connected to the organization. But, as with many campaigns that go awry, the company stirred controversy with just a single tweet.
In a tweet that has since been deleted — but of course Huff Post captured a screenshot — Abercrombie quoted a merchandiser named Kayla saying: “The Pride community is everybody, not just LGBT people.” The problem, as lots of people pointed out on the social media platform, is that the purpose of Pride month is actually very specifically about LGBT people — that's why there's a month dedicated to it. So much for inclusivity, Abercrombie. At least you tried.
Here's what critics had to say:
Me seeing Abercrombie and Fitch trying to say Pride Month is for straight people too pic.twitter.com/DWgjUpzw74— Shane (@shandrick) June 10, 2017
Lmaoo Abercrombie and Fitch is like that str8 frat boy who demands a white history month, straight pride and thinks reverse racism exists https://t.co/HbMJiydO37— Nora Okuogume (@NoraOkuogume) June 10, 2017
Rashida Jones tests confusing beauty products
The rise of technology has given us many wonderful things — smartphones, smart assistants and even smart homes — but smart cosmetics haven’t quite found their place.
Take the Face Slimmer Anti-Wrinkle Mouth Piece, for example, or the Joly Full Face Style Anti-wrinkle Face Slimming Cheek Mask Lift. These products and their uses are questionable — and hilarious — at best.
This week, comedic actress Rashida Jones joined Allure to review some of the strange beauty products out there.
Her hot take: "Do all beauty products look like sex toys?" she quips in the video. "Not my fault they all look like sex toys."