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Acclaimed SA designer collaborates with Barbie

Barbie dressed by Coetzee


Barbie, today November 12, announced a collaboration with celebrated fashion designer Gert-Johan Coetzee, who has created a new ready-to-wear South African-inspired collection, and couture dress made specifically to fit the number one fashion doll in the world.

The Barbie Loves Gert collection, comprised of 31 looks, celebrates the uniqueness of South Africans. This is the first time the international fashion icon Barbie, is working with Gert-Johan Coetzee, one of South Africa’s most loved and admired fashion designers, to debut original designs that are immediately distinguishable as creations by this established and celebrated designer. All genders, sizes, and cultures are represented in the work by Gert-Johan Coetzee, and the models who walk in the show reflect Coetzee’s commitment to diversity. 

“I wanted Barbie to experience South Africa to its fullest by integrating an array of South African cultural elements into the collection. Striking pink from the Pedi culture complimented by geometric patterns inspired by the Zulu culture” explains Coetzee. Using “South African beadwork in black and white, I took inspiration from the Xhosa culture, I wanted this collection to encapsulate a truly South African experience.”

The clothing collection includes both couture and ready-to-wear items. 15 ready-to-wear items from the collection will be available on Coetzee’s website for purchase and couture items can be made to order.

“As the most diverse fashion doll in the market with over 170 different diverse looks, shapes and sizes, Barbie continues to show the impact of representation and we are absolutely honoured and inspired to be working with South African designer Gert-Johan Coetzee whose work embodies these values”, says Scott Hobson Country Manager Mattel South Africa (PTY) LTD.

Coetzee has won numerous awards, including SA’s Most Promising Young Designer in 2006 at the age of 19, and SA Designer of the Year in 2010. He’s shown at international fashion weeks in Canada, Angola, and Nigeria and has a growing following in Africa.

Coetzee is also a social activist who uses the power of his fashion platform to highlight social issues. From breaking down prejudices about albinism along with lawyer-turned-international model Thando Hopa to championing education and literacy and addressing violence against women, breast-cancer awareness, as well as raising awareness about SA’s water crisis, endangered wildlife, and eco-consciousness in fashion.