Oh, Lammily. I wanted to like you so badly. But, unfortunately, you are probably doomed to a life at the bottom of the doll bin since neither I, nor my daughters, want to play with you.
If you haven’t heard of Lammily, she is the latest doll to challenge the “Barbie” scene. The Lammily fashion doll has been manufactured using standard human body proportions–an average bust, waist, and hips. She is marketed as being around 19 years in age, athletic, and a world traveler. I found out about the Lammily doll during its crowdfunding campaign in March. Nickolay Lamm raised $225,000 dolls during the campaign, thanks to more than 13K backers–I was one of them.
Unlike a few of my friends, I am not really an opponent of Barbie. I grew up with Barbie dolls and spent countless hours playing with them. Still, I was intrigued by this idea of a “realistic” fashion doll and wanted to see a real Lammily doll and get my girls’ reaction. So I shelled out the $25 and waited for its arrival.
The doll arrived attractively packaged in a box covered in beautiful illustrations inside and out. It also has a little pamphlet that is sort of an introduction to the globetrotting ways of the doll. The doll comes in an ombre shirt, short shorts, and white sneakers. Additional (stylish) outfits can be purchased on the website, for $17-$27, which is pretty darn steep. The outfits on the website are really nicely designed, but they are also as much as I’d pay for clothes for ME.
As for the doll itself, here are the pros and cons:
Minimal makeup: I don’t like it when dolls have 4 different eyeshadows and crazy lipstick on. It looks like Lammily is only wearing lip gloss and eyeliner.
Nice hair and body: The hair is very thick and well-done for a doll. The body proportions, especially on the torso, ARE a refreshing change. Since this is what the doll is being marketed for, I am glad they did well here.
Movable wrists: I’ve never seen this on a fashion doll, and it’s pretty neat. The ankles also move, but feel like they’re about to pop out when I remove the shoes, so I’m less crazy about that feature.
Good presentation: I like all the beautiful artwork on the box.
Shirt: It is nice to see a fashion doll in a long-sleeved shirt. It’s tough to find fashion doll outfits that even have sleeves. I wish the shorts were longer so her crotch wasn’t on display when she sits, but more on that in a bit.
Shorts and shoes: The shorts are very short; when the doll sits, you can see her (imprinted) underwear. The shoes are clunky and difficult (esp for little hands) to get off and on.
Splayed seating position: As you can see from the picture, Lammily is unable to sit without grossly splaying her legs. None of our other dolls have that problem–not the dolls with bendable knees nor the ones with simple, straight legs. The splayed seating (in addition to being unattractive) is awkward and makes the doll take up a lot of room, so I don’t think she’ll do well on doll chairs, couches, cars, etc.
Elbow and Knee articulation: One of the selling points for the doll was SUPPOSED to be her joints at the knee and elbow. Even after bending and unbending them the 30 recommended times after taking her out of the box, she is still way harder to position than other dolls. I don’t think my 4-yr old will be able to bend her knees and will probably struggle with the elbows. In the above photo, I have bent Lammily’s knees and elbows as far as they will go (3 clicks) and the knees are still less bent than the Barbie dolls with articulating knees. The two Barbie dolls that we own that have movable elbow joints are much smoother and easier to use than Lammily (you can see one in the photo in the turquoise leotard).
Heavy: The doll is heavy and that makes it more awkward to play with, especially for young kids.
And finally, my last criticism is perhaps the most controversial, but similar to one that others have voiced. Is Lammily what is “normal”? White skin and a privileged upbringing that allows her to travel the world and wear designer duds? How is that any more “standard” than Barbie’s tiny waist?
My girls set Lammily aside within 2 minutes of opening the box. My eldest daughter’s favorite doll is one that has the hair partly hacked off. She has darker skin and is unique. You can see her sitting next to the Lammily doll below. She’s not the blond-haired, blue-eyed Barbie that is so frequently demonized by the media. I love that my children embrace uniqueness and see it as a positive, special quality. Although Lammily offers stickers so that you can give the doll acne, stretch marks, tattoos, etc., on her own, she has no qualities that set her apart.
Maybe I need to give my daughters the scissors so they can give Lammily a haircut. 😉
I am still awaiting my order for the other crowdsourcing project I supported–the I Am Elemental action figures. I am very excited about them and hope they prove to be a bigger hit with the kids than Lammily.