The history of Blythe dolls

------Edelweiss day blythe doll

The history of Blythe dolls is a fascinating journey from obscurity to cult status within the doll collecting and fashion design communities. Here's an overview of how Blythe dolls came into being and evolved over the years:


  • 1972 Creation: Blythe dolls were originally created by Allison Katzman in 1972 while working for Marvin Glass and Associates, a toy design company. The dolls were produced by the now-defunct toy company Kenner but did not gain much popularity initially. Unique for their time, Blythe dolls featured an oversized head and eyes that changed color with a pull of a string, a feature that was innovative but also considered unsettling by some, leading to their initial commercial failure.

Rediscovery and Cult Status

  • Late 1990s Rediscovery: After years of obscurity, Blythe dolls were rediscovered by Gina Garan, a New York photographer, in the late 1990s. Garan’s photography, featuring a vintage Blythe doll named "Blythe," showcased the doll in various fashion outfits and scenarios, helping to spark a renewed interest in Blythe dolls. This culminated in a photo book published in 2000 that played a pivotal role in bringing Blythe dolls to a wider audience.

Neo Blythe Era

  • 2001-Present Neo Blythe: In 2001, the Japanese toy company Takara began producing new editions of Blythe dolls, known as Neo Blythes. These modern versions retained the distinctive eye-changing mechanism and oversized head but came with improved features and quality, along with a wide array of fashion accessories. Neo Blythe dolls were an instant hit, especially in Japan and among doll collectors worldwide, leading to a continuous production of new models, special editions, and collaborations with fashion designers and artists.

Artistic and Fashion Influence

  • Blythe dolls have become a canvas for artists and customizers, who modify the dolls to create unique works of art. They change aspects such as the dolls' makeup, hair, eye color, and even posture. The dolls have also inspired fashion designers and photographers, contributing to their status as a cult fashion icon.

Community and Cultural Impact

  • A dedicated and passionate community has formed around Blythe dolls, encompassing collectors, customizers, and enthusiasts who share their creations and experiences through social media, forums, and conventions. The dolls have also been featured in various artistic and commercial projects, highlighting their cultural impact beyond the toy industry.

Ongoing Popularity

  • Despite their niche appeal, Blythe dolls continue to be highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts. Limited edition releases and collaborations with artists and designers keep the community engaged and ensure the dolls' status as a contemporary collectible and artistic medium.

The history of Blythe dolls is a testament to the enduring appeal of unique and creatively inspiring toys. From their initial release and discontinuation to their resurgence and status as a beloved icon in the art and fashion world, Blythe dolls have carved out a unique niche that continues to captivate and inspire.

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