*Edit: This article originally had my opinion about other websites. BarbieReference.com is “a labor of love” for me. It’s not a profitable website, it costs me time and money to make and work on it. It’s something I created and feel “ownership” for. When I imagined sharing these pictures and information with other doll collectors I pictured siting at my dinner table, covered with dolls, having a good conversation and cup of coffee with a dear friend as we share memories and sort through our recent flea market finds trying to decide which dress goes with a doll. So much so that I forget that this website is actually viewed by strangers from all over the world and that my honest opinions can come across as rude and offend others. I apologize for that. I apologize for my words and in future will just give you the pictures and leave my personality out of this site. Thank you for your interest and support. Please feel free to come back and enjoy the website.
I have created my own Fashion Avenue reference pages.
I have used FashionAve.Info for a lot of information over the years. You can read about it here. It uses the same web page setup with a home page that lists all years and lines. You can click on those words to go to a year sub-page or line sub-page or year and line sub-sub-page. Thumbnails of the front of each fashion pack is on the page, the backs of the fashion packs (if I have them), and close-ups of Mattel vendor catalog page. Eventually I want to add the Fashion Avenue booklets too.
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Click on each little image and a big version will pop up.
I use the biggest clearest images I have, but some of them are still on the small or blurry side. Eventually each fashion pack will have it’s own complete post and posts for each part of it, shoes, tops, skirts, accessories etc. I will add those posts as I go through my own Barbie collection and take pictures. I am also going through my old hard drives and zip drives (remember those) looking for photographs so those identified fashion pieces and complete fashion posts will show up rather haphazardly. Not all of the year or line sub-pages are up yet. I’m working as fast as I can so please be patient and check my new Fashion Avenue reference main page because that is where the new sub-pages will show up first!
There are serious differences between my pages and FashionAve.info*
I have explained how I decide what is Fashion Avenue and what isn’t and how I decide what year each fashion belongs in here:
Everything on BarbieReference.com is organized and dated by this priority
1. Mattel USA Catalog and Sell Sheet Years – Mattel like most retailers organize the calendar year into four seasons that are grouped into two main sections February through July is called Spring/Summer and August through January is called Fall/Winter. Most Barbie collectors use the dates on packages or boxes. I don’t because dolls and toys are for me inextricably linked with wonderful childhood memories. “That’s the Barbie I got at my 8th birthday party!” “I wanted that toy for Christmas when I was in 2nd grade.” “I saved all the money I earned over the summer and bought that collectible doll when I started High School!” “I remember the day I first saw this in the store” The retail calendar doesn’t exactly follow the calendar year but it’s much closer than the box dates. This is especially true for Barbie up to the 1990s. A doll may be copyrighted and therefore box dated 1978, but then sold in stores through 1982. To make matters even more confusing the Arco produced products in the 1980s and 1990s will have a box date that matches the vendor catalog year and year they were first sold in stores. This box year = sold year pattern has often happened for store exclusives from the beginning to the present day. I know most people won’t agree, but this website is first and foremost a labor of love for me and I want to enjoy it this way.
2. Mattel USA and Foreign Booklets – Again I use the year these booklets were first included with sold items. They are a great source for finding fashions that are not included in the main Catalogs
3. Assortment numbers – A big indicator of how the actual Mattel designers want the fashions and dolls to be grouped and seen by the public. These usually match the names of Barbie series like Fashion Fever, Fashion Avenue Boutique, Fashion Avenue Party, Classique, My Scene Jamaica, etc. but not always
4. Year on box – I abbreviate as YOB and unfortunately I do have to often use this to date Barbie items, but only when I don’t have any other information. However I try to always include the year on box (or package, or card, or bag) in all descriptions to make them easier to search and find online.
5. Package design – As far as I know the packages are often designed by different people than the fashions and dolls and can be reused. I do consider package design but it’s not very high on the list.