Before I delve into this week’s exciting topic, I want to give credit where credit is due and explain where I got the idea for this column. Originally, I had planned to make this a funny column (obviously I decided against that) and talk about the most ridiculous jobs I could find on the Internet. And I found some pretty weird (but completely legitimate) ones: chicken sexer, boner, cowpuncher and so many more. (For the record, a boner is someone who inserts boning into women’s garments to make them more supportive, but I think it’s funnier just to let the imagination wander on that one.) Anyway, that was my original idea: inundate The Daily’s readership with bizarre jobs that have unnecessarily sexual titles. Then, one night a few weeks ago, I was out at a bar with my friend when this creepy guy started talking to us. Long story short, we got onto the topic of my column, and he suggested that instead of telling Stanford students to bone, I should give them real job options that they might actually consider. So thanks, creepy guy. It’s a pretty good idea. I’m still not giving you my number though.
Now, onto this week’s topic: The Barbie Doll dress designer.
Before you stop reading, hear me out. Granted, it’s no boner. But a Barbie dress designer is actually a pretty great job. I’m not going to patronize you by detailing the long history of the Barbie doll and its importance in American culture and society; instead, I’m going to level with you completely — you will make six figures. I hate to be crass (says the girl who has made three boner references so far in this column), but let’s be honest: money really does matter. But that’s not the only reason why it’s not such a ridiculous suggestion after all. The best part of the job, in my opinion, is that it’s a great way for people interested in fashion or product design to gain experience in their respective fields without subjecting themselves to the miserable life of an unpaid intern/slave. Especially for those hoping to pursue a career in fashion, working as a Barbie Doll dress designer can be a great starting point. In researching this topic, I found that many people do the job for a few years, make some money and go on to work for big-name designers, although you should expect a decrease in pay with that transition.
Another reason life in plastic is so fantastic (thanks, Aqua) is the relative ease of the client-designer relationship. Anyone who hopes to go into fashion in some capacity, or even anyone who has seen the episodes of Project Runway where they design outfits for “real women,” knows that one of the most difficult aspects of fashion design is executing your vision while pleasing the client. In this regard, Barbie is the perfect client — she has no strong personal preferences, and she can never feel fat in anything. Who wouldn’t love designing for a client like that? Additionally, as a doll dress designer, you will get to attend various fashion weeks, scout new looks for Barbie and help set national trends by telling the nine-year-olds of America what they should wear.
But while Barbie dolls are great, they aren’t for everyone. Personally, I never loved my Barbies, which I made pretty obvious when I tore them apart limb from limb and buried them all around my backyard. Sorry, Ken. Luckily, Barbies aren’t the only dolls who need a new fall wardrobe, so if they aren’t really your thing, there are plenty of other companies hiring doll fashion designers. There are also ways to get involved in the industry in other capacities, such as marketing and product design. After all, someone has to build that ridiculously proportioned body before anyone can make an adorable pink miniskirt for it to wear.
The point is, doll fashion design isn’t just about Barbie — it’s a respected field that can lead to even bigger and better things. You will gain experience in fashion, product design and marketing, and you get to play with dolls, which is fun. Or you could murder them, which is also fun. Totally your call.
If you could care less about dolls but think the idea of boning is fun, let Amanda know at aach(at)stanford.edu.