Project Review

I feel this collaboration has worked well. We each took a role (Sarah, costume and Hannah, Packaging) Which meant we were able to both work on an area. 

The outcome is something I would like to take further and continue to user test and work on. When the project began we were trying to redesign Barbie, however through our research we came across both girl and boy stereotypes which finally led to the outcome of reversible dress up. 


Some more user testing

I carried out further user testing with Lana aged 5. Being slightly older Lana was comfortable to play with the costume and have me photograph it. The outcome was interesting, Lana wanted to combine different sides of the outfit and be half ‘action man’ and half fairy.

Final Prototypes of Costume

The final prototypes are shown below, they have been altered slightly, the new costume is made for a 5 year old. The pink costume has crystals scattered on keeping the design a little more simple  and the boys costume has details on the back of the jacket which an embroidery machine was used for. I applied less organza to the girl costume so it wont be so uncomfortable to wear on the reverse.


Project Review

The presentation for the Formative was a success, we presented the prototype, some research and the outcome of Grace with the product.

I would like to work on a second prototype with a few changes. There were too many twirls on the pink costume meaning when Grace wore it she trod on them and some tore off. Also they may feel too harsh on the skin when the green costume is being worn. I also feel there was too much tack on the pink costume and little detail on the green costume.

User testing



We took the prototype to 3 year old Grace to see which options she would choose and how she would react to the costume. It was presented to her in both boxes and she opted for the pink box. When asked if she wanted to try the other side of the costume she said no.

We found Grace to be very shy when we were there, and it took a long time for her to sit in the same room as us. This shows us that next time it may be best for us to hand the product to the childs parents and ask them to record for us.

First costume prototype

First costume prototype

This side shows the first prototype for the boys costume.

First prototype of costume

First prototype of costume

This image shows the first prototype of the costume I made for the Formative assessment

This is the girls side of the costume.

Finalising design ideas for costume

Finalising design ideas for costume

Sketches showing the two different sides of the costume. Working with polar opposites in terms of colours and textures.

Reversible dressing up

Looking at ideas around dress up costumes for children being suitable for boys and girls. It could be interesting to explore different gender stereotypes through one item. 

Currently reversible dressing up costumes are available, mainly disney ones where the child can choose to dress as Bell or Cinderella. Both sides following the same theme. I think a much better angle to take on this would be to look at a costume for both boys and girls and combine it into one product. This could be taken to extremes such as a pink fairy dress combined with an army outfit and gun/wand accessory. 

Throughout research we have noted that the one thing we see a big problem with is the lack of choice children (and parents) are given regarding toy buying. I think by creating a product that is not gender neutral but actually combines both gender stereotypes we can offer a choice that no other product can currently do!

The more positive dolls

Most of the research carried out so far has lead to negative comments about barbies and baby dolls giving young children the wrong idea about body image and their role in life. I wanted to take a look at the companies offering toys with a much more positive outlook.

The following images were taken at the London toy fair.



The first image shows rag doll style toys, which would only be popular with a younger customer, the second image shows a more lifelike doll, they were plastic but flexible unlike Barbies. They have a similar body to young girls with flat chests and bodies which aren’t super skinny. These dolls are dressed in quite adult styles of clothing which I do think is a good idea now I have seen how many people have said their children enjoy giving adult roles to their toys, however the clothes are still modest and appropriate for children.


The Only hearts club are an American company offering an alternative to Barbie. The online store gives character descriptions to the dolls. This big and little sister combo has an inspiring character description, its great that this company are telling customers back stories about how the dolls are keen to learn and the good examples that the younger dolls should follow.

It’s Kayla and her little sister, Sydney! Sydney and Kayla love to wear their matching Only Hearts Club jackets. Kayla is proud that Sydney looks up to her and wants to be a member of the Only Hearts Club some day.

A little sister is always looking up to her big sister…watching, learning and imitating, so each Only Hearts Girl™ has an important responsibility to “listen to her heart and do the right thing,” to take care of her little sister, and to set a good example for her. In addition to the Big Sister…Li’l Sister™ sets, Only Hearts Girls and Only Hearts Li’l Kids™ are also sold separately, so you can collect and match your favorites!

Lily stands 9 inches tall and Jessica stands 4 inches tall. Both feature a soft poseable Polyester-filled body with vinyl head and hands, glass eyes and high quality rooted hair.”