Fashion Doll Quarterly Winter Tenth Anniversary Issue 2013
The Anniversary issue (Winter 2013) ships August 8th, featuring the elegant Horsman, Tonner, Barbie, Volks and more. Be sure to get your copy in print or as a digital download, just click the cover:
TEN YEARS ON
By Amanda Arnold
It is a decade since the first issue of Fashion Doll Quarterly (FDQ) burst onto the fashion doll collecting scene, arriving at a time of growth within the hobby. The magazine was founded by Pat Henry and fellow collector Sonia Rivera. After contributing to other doll magazines like Barbie Bazaar, Pat rediscovered her love of writing. With a background as a fashion stylist and in the advent of digital photography, Pat began shooting her doll collection with the same attention to detail given to real fashion models. All of these interests were put out on the burgeoning Internet on forums like Prego and Pink Parlor. She had worked on two books with Tim Alberts and Mary King (The Art of Miniature Millinery, and From Beginning to Last: The Art of Making Doll Shoes) and so her interest in publishing was piqued as well. On a visit to New York for Toy Fair, Sonia pitched the idea of doing a fashion doll magazine together. The two had become friends when Pat had become a frequent contributor to a published newsletter for Gene collectors called The Gene Scene, created by Sonia. Although intrigued by the idea of fashion doll magazine, Pat was initially sceptical. However, home PCs had become so easy to use, with creation and design facilitated by programs like Quark and Photoshop, so the idea wasn’t so farfetched. After some research they decided to invest both financially and emotionally in a glossy quarterly that would cover all kinds of fashion dolls. They could not have envisaged that Haute Doll would debut the same month. The feedback they received was “Who are you? The Barbie Bazaar ladies have more experience, so you will never last”! The irony is that the naysayers are now former companies or employees of companies that the magazine still work with, and they are gone. Fashion Doll Quarterly and Pat Henry are still here. Sonia quickly dropped out after the first few issues but at that point, Pat just felt too committed to walk away and admit defeat. As she is only too happy to attest, she is one of the most stubborn people you will ever meet, and quickly made the decision to keep the magazine going no matter what. Not necessarily the wisest choice, but one she does not regret, particularly now that Fashion Doll Quarterly has made it to this milestone.
In order to determine how the hobby has evolved over the past ten years we posed a series of questions to a group of collectors and FDQ contributors (find out a bit more about them at the end of this article in the “Who’s Who”). The questions asked covered subjects such as successful doll debuts, favorite all star designers and artists, disappointments and where the hobby will take us in the next ten years. The responses received highlight the diversity and personal nature of collecting, with certain questions eliciting very similar responses whilst others generated an intriguing variety of replies. The first question posed to our sample of collectors was what had been the most important change or addition to the doll collecting hobby in the last decade?
Interestingly two changes were most frequently cited. Terri Gold identified the increasing influence of the internet as having an effect on all aspects of doll collecting whilst Paul Bruce specifically mentioned improvements in the system which has facilitated the ability to purchase fashion dolls, whether from on-line retailers or eBay. Our collective appetite of information about all things doll related has grown alongside our need to connect and share our passion with fellow collectors. It is this rapid expansion of all forms of social media, whether it is Facebook, on-line blogs or forums, which Pat Henry identified, allowing instant accessibility to information at anytime and anyplace.
Both Ian Price and Vin Trapani cited articulation as the most important change. The first issue of Fashion Doll Quarterly had focused on a twofold concept of “movement”, as a conceptual idea demonstrating the increased diversity within the adult doll collecting community as well as the physical manifestation of movement in an exploration of the developments in doll articulation. Vin elaborated that this has been something of a mixed blessing. Whilst the lifelike posing possibilities of increased articulation are clearly a boon, the downside is the loss of clean elegant lines to both the limbs and torso. To achieve the desired effects, bodies are sectioned up with robotic precision. The cost of greater flexibility at the knee, hip or elbow can be a hideous joint. As manufacturing developments advance, and with the possibilities of 3D printing, new solutions may be found. Vin concludes that for now some of his favorite dolls remain resolutely unarticulated. Alexandra Forbes noted that the introduction of resin for fashion dolls as the main reason for the increase in articulation, whilst Annmarie LaBella directly referenced the influence of how Volks’ Super Dollfie has contributed to making resin and ball jointed dolls mainstream.