Barbie Fashion Design Maker

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Barbie Fashion Design Maker App Poster Image
One outfit, many fabrics available in limited toy tie-in.

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The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn some art- and design-related vocabulary as they work to earn different awards. They'll experiment with patterns and colors, matching and coordinating and expressing themselves creatively. Barbie Fashion Design Maker is designed more for entertainment than education, but, with some focus and discussion, kids can learn through play. Parents will need to explain some of the terms -- such as "silhouette," "gallery," and "elements" -- and talk with kids about matching and coordinating to boost learning.

Ease of Play

Dragging and dropping color and pattern changes into place is easy and intuitive, but printing designs requires special equipment.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

The app works with the Barbie Fashion Design Maker toy that retails for $49.99 and enables kids to print their designs on special fabric, peel it off, and stick them on their Barbies. The toy is advertised in the app but is not linked to a retail site. Barbie is a commercial character and part of a franchise that offers many products and content.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Barbie Fashion Design Maker is a free app designed to work with the Barbie Fashion Design Maker toy that retails for $49.99 and comes with printable fabric (precut into clothing shapes) that peels and sticks onto a Barbie. Kids create their designs in the app and then print them via AirPrint or save them as PDFs to print from a computer. Even without the toy, the design app is very playable, and kids can earn different badges for creating certain designs. The designing is limited to changing the color and pattern on one outfit, though, so it's not as versatile as Barbie Fashionistas, which features many more design options. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.



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What's it about?

Starting with a white tank top and white skirt, kids change colors or patterns of the pieces by dragging colors into place from the sidebar. They can take pictures of items to create their own patterns and add accessories such as vests, collars, and belts as well as text and bling. They can choose different designs for the back and front and save the designs to their portfolios, earning different badges. Kids who have the Barbie Fashion Design Maker toy then can​ print their designs onto the special fabric for their Barbies to wear.

Is it any good?

BARBIE FASHION DESIGN MAKER is very limited compared to other design apps, but that's simply because it's designed to match up with the printable outfit available with the toy. The options for patterns, colors, and accessories -- and the option to create your own pattern -- allow for a surprising number of fun design options, but there's no way to remove the pink necklace Barbie is wearing. Diversity is not limited to the outfit choice; although kids have the option of choosing a white or an African-America Barbie, the two look exactly alike, shape and feature-wise, with only differently colored skin, eyes, and hair.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the one outfit option and the one body type featured. How do different colors, patterns, and accessories improve the looks and variety of the outfits? Though only one hairstyle, body, and face (in two skin shades) are featured, how do differences in people's looks and abilities make the world more interesting?

  • Sit with little designers and help them draw their own outfit designs on paper, cut them out with paper-doll tabs, and have kids color and create their own designs to tape onto pictures of themselves or pictures from magazines.

App details

  • Devices: iPad, Android
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: vocabulary
    Hobbies: fashion
  • Skills: Creativity: imagination, making new creations
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free (The app is designed to pair with the Barbie Fashion Design toy that retails for $49.99 and allows kids to print onto special fabric the designs they create with the app.)
  • Release date: July 23, 2014
  • Category: Entertainment
  • Topics: Arts and Dance
  • Size: 180.00 MB
  • Publisher: Mattel, Inc.
  • Version: 1.1
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 6.0 or later; Android 4.0 and up
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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