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BJD or Fashion Doll

Jan 17, 2008

    1. I have been thinking about this for awhile now and now that the market for BJDs is expanding I think we are starting to see some overlap with the Fashion Doll industry. Many people seem to think of Volks SD16 as a fashion doll and now we have Jason Wu, a fashion doll producer, creating Valia, a resin doll with jointing that is very similar to a BJD. The Model Dolls are very concerned with fashion and built to wear clothes beautifully. Both SD16s and Model dolls have the traditional pinched waist with bigger hips and shoulders and long legs.

      I guess my question (or debate as it were) is what makes a BJD different from a Fashion doll? Both seem to be concerned with fashion, both can be modified with face ups, and, for now at least, both can be made of vinyl or resin.

      I sincrely hope that this thread can stay on topic and not be deleted by the Mods as I have been wondering about this for awhile. I know that personally I own 2 SD16s and I could never think of them as "fashion dolls" even though they have tons of beautiful clothes, change often and love fashion. I am eager to hear what others think.
    2. From my experience, I'd have to say the face and the waist. Every fashion doll I've seen seems to just stick to a generic idea -- there are some variations, but as the emphasis is REALLY not on the face, there's not much done there. Whereas with BJDs, there's a lot more emphasis on the head sculpt.

      Also, every fashion doll I've seen has a tiny pinchy wasp-waist. :ablah:

      (I'll admit here that fashion dolls REALLY aren't my thing -- I was never into them -- so this is just what I've picked up from casual experience with them)
    3. When I think of the term "fashion doll", the first thing that leaps into my mind is the ubiquitous cheap tawdry Barbie doll. So to me, any "maturely-proportioned" girl doll (resin or otherwise) in trendy western-style clothes is a "fashion doll". And yes, we've been seeing a lot more of this type here lately.

      To me, bjd are cute, younger, immaturely-proportioned girls who have an anime or decidedly Japanese (or otherwise Asian) sensibility, and wear fashions that reflect this.

      Yes, one could argue that there's no difference, that they're all "fashion dolls", or that ALL dolls are fashion dolls simply because they wear clothing, but I think we all understand here that yes, there is an aesthetic difference, and we're discussing just "Western Fashion Doll" vs "Japanese resin bjd aesthetic" (gee we need a tidier term for that maybe).

      I've never liked (western) fashion dolls, myself, I find them celebratory of many things I dislike about my own culture as regards women... so I just skip over threads dedicated to dolls I am not interested in (such as the SD16 girls), or threads by owners who I know dress their dolls in trendy western-style clothes. It's just not interesting to me personally.

      I don't fret about them, though, so far it seems there's room enough for some diversity here. As long as there are plenty of people who show me pics of their asian bjd in asian fashions, I'll be well pleased. ^_^

    4. I agree with Silver. Also it's about what one looks for with the dolls - as one of my friends told me when picking out my first BJD, "look for the head that you like first, and then go from there." Not really the same impression I'd get from fashion doll shopping ^^;

      BJDs seem to be much more about the faces and the entire doll.
    5. From what I have seen, fashion dolls have smaller heads, smaller eyes, skinnier arms and legs, smaller hands, and smaller feet than a human being.

      I think Asian aesthetic BJDs have more human body proportions and heads that run from a bit large for the body (Unoa, etc) to quite large on the body (super-skinny BJD's with large heads and many tinies).

    6. I think that overall, the sculpt of a bjd is more realistic and detailed that that of a fashion doll. Since fashion dolls are designed to look good in clothes, their bodies usually are just a basic shape, so they wouldn't look good undressed. Also, their faces lack the character and variation that is seen with bjds. Even repainted, it's typically much easier (at least for me) to recognize two fashion dolls as having the same sculpt, as opposed to two bjds.

      Of course, the purpose of the dolls is a bit varied, too. Fashion dolls are created and marketed as models for clothing, or children's toys. Bjds are marketed more as a sort of companion, and even if they are purchased to model clothes or for art, owners often become a bit more attached.
    7. Bjds are not seen as JUST dolls. Some embody previous existing characters, some have their own stories, personalities and even a bjd family with complex relationships... Bjds owners bond with their dolls in a way that goes way beyond: "oh she's so pretty, she wears such beutiful clothes".

      Each owner makes their bjd unique in many ways. I think it's not just the dolls themselves that are different from fashion dolls, it's mostly how the owners perceive them that makes them different.
    8. Rather than there being a hard line between one type of doll and another, I tend to think of it as sort-of a sliding scale... shades of grey rather than strict black and white.

      The SD16 and Model girls? Yeah... I'd put them closer to the fashion doll side of things, along with Cocori, Lishe and a few others. They're not Fashion Royalty or RND dolls, but they're definitely cousins as far as their over-all "look" goes.

      Is that a bad thing? No... I don't think so. I'm sure there are people who would consider any blurring of the lines between Eastern-style dolls and Western ones a terrible evolution, but I think it was more or less inevitable. As the hobby grows, there are more people coming in with more diverse tastes and interests. Not all of them are going to go for the huge-eyed/tiny-mouthed anime look or pudgy little chibi bodies. It's a smart economic move for the BJD companies to recognize that.
    9. Up until I started collecting BJDs, I was a long-time fashion doll collector, with a primary focus on Barbie and Tyler Wentworth. The most significant difference between the two, from my perspective, is the intent of the doll. Fashion dolls are stylized and not intended to realistically portray a true feminine form. The faces are beautiful, but cold and lifeless. A good customizer can add a degree of realistic expression to their faces, but even then, there is no three-dimensional depth there, just a flat, painted smile.

      The thing that struck me most about BJDs was when I first opened Heavenlea's box and looked at her. She was looking back at me. Not over my shoulder, or somewhere off in left field, she was looking at me. There was depth to her gaze, a sparkle in her glass eyes. She was as real as an inanimate object could aspire to be. Her body, while still not perfectly human, is still closer to realism, with her big booty and her belly button and almost-there genitals.

      But more than that, and call me crazy if you will, the major difference was that she wanted to be held and cuddled and dressed and undressed and wigged and unwigged. What she didn't want was to be dressed in the latest fashion doll couture and sit on a shelf to be dusted around for the next 20 years.

      To me, that's the difference between a fashion doll and a BJD and I really doubt that there will be any real crossover between the two.
    10. For the most part I think that fashion dolls are not used in art like BJD's are. BJDs ARE art and are used in drawings and photography and sewing and painting and so on. Fashion dolls are used more for child's play or for display. While there are people who make stuff for and paint fashion dolls, I think in general they are not considered works of art unto themselves like BJD's, which are considered artist creations.
    11. Fashion dolls usually have a figure that if you wanted to imitate it,you'd be a skeleton.

      Fashion dolls,like Barbie and other are not proportioned right,not many people have a huge upstairs and a uber skinny waist.

      Fashion dolls are used in photography VERY little from what I've seen.

      BJDs are artistic,they have more/better joints,they're resin,wonderful looking in photographs,you can customize them to no end (wigs,eyes,faceup,face shape,character,personallity,etc.),they LOOK more HUMAN than fashion dolls do.

      The clothes for BJDs are easier to make(as my mom says) that Barbies.
      BJD's are antomically correct,if that matters.
      BJD's have a sense of being almost "real" and having their own expressions,whereas fashion dolls just have this stupid grin that says "Yes,I KNOW I'm the hottest thing around,dont bother telling me again".

      I am sorry if I offended anyone that likes Fashion Dolls.
    12. Having been both a long time fashion doll & artist doll collector, I find BJDs to be a blending of the two. Like fashion dolls they can be rewigged, repainted & dressed in all sorts of beautiful clothes. (I was never one to limit my fashion dolls to simply current haute couture.) Like artist dolls, there's a huge variety of expressive faces available & often some rather funky, fun clothes & hair styles.

      Even the intent isn't all that different for me. Like my artist pieces, some seem like perfect sculptures to be admired & like the fashion dolls they seem made to play with. I've also always named most of my fashion dolls & given them storylines so even that isn't a difference for me, though I understand that's a huge dividing line for many people.

      The difference for me from fashion dolls is the variety of faces & that the faces, especially with the right face-up, can portray many emotions. This ties in directly to my love for artist dolls. In general, the bodies aren't as exaggerated & the hands & feet are more in proportion & beautifully sculpted with delicate gestures. While many of the body sculpts are fairly simple, there are those that are so realistic that they're works of art unto themselves. And of course there's the jointing. Fashion dolls are becoming more highly articulated but still can't compare to the realistic posing ability of BJDs.

      Another huge difference is the actual manufacturing of the dolls. Fashion dolls are massed produced items with prototypes shown at the large trade show like Toy Fair, IDEX & Expo. Dealers place their orders for the year & the dolls are shipped en masse when the entire run is ready. The faces are screened with perhaps a few handpainted details, they're made in factories by machine. BJDs on the other hand are created one at a time by artists. Everything about them is done by hand by artisans not factory workers. (Though I do believe there is a movement towards Chinese factories producing much of the actual resin work these days.)

      So while personally I treat both my fashion dolls & BJDs much the same & I buy the mature, more realistic resins rather than the childlike anime inspired ones, I still find differences between them & have come to the point where I only collect BJDs. I simply don't need another version of the same face on the same doll in merely different clothes.
    13. I don't know much about fashion dolls, are they primarily collactables or do people also play with them? I suppose some fashion dolls also get customised to a certain degree?
    14. *****n/a*****
    15. seneris - that really depends on the individual collector.

      I like many different kinds of dolls myself and I see a lot of similar things going on in the different collecting communities.

      Whether it´s American Girl dolls, Riley Kish and other child dolls, vintage or modern Barbie, Gene, Tonner, Begoth, BJDs, Pullips, Blythe, even Action Figures and toys such as Lego and Playmobil... whatever: There are always collectors who prefer to keep their dolls (or figures) in boxes or at least as factory-mint as possible as collectibles and potential investment, and there are collectors who repaint, rewig, redress, reroot, restyle, or find other ways to customize; they play by taking pictures and making photostories. Even some of the vintage (antique) doll collectors are no exception, even though they tend to display-only more than the others.

      In every community, there are those to whom their dolls are simply pretty objects and those to whom their dolls mean a lot more, in the way Lilith describes above. And in every community, there are skilled photographers who can picture their dolls in a way that portrays many different moods and emotion.

      The tastes in dolls may be different, but other than that, all doll collectors actually have quite a lot in common.

      Even the fact that every collecting community has its members who seem to feel the need to put down other collectibles (rather than simply ignoring what they don´t like)... :-P
    16. "Fashion dolls" have stylized faces and bodies and focus on accessorizing, to make the doll look fashionable. BJDs it seems, are made to be more in the image of a person. I guess it's just the term "fashion doll", when we think of it, we think of the hour-glass shaped plastic doll in the store for children, where they also sell fashion packs and such... BJDs just don't focus on that as much...
    17. Part of it, I think is the intent behind the doll. While there isn't always a black and white dividing line between the two, the main purpose of fashion dolls is to display clothing. While buying clothes and dressing bjds is a big part of the way many owners play with their dolls, it isn't the soul focus or reason for the doll. The focus on looking good in clothes also tends to make for rather unimpressive bodies when fashion dolls are naked or scantily dressed (at least I think that's the reason for it)--it doesn't matter so much for fashion dolls if the focus is always on the clothing. Even the SD16s with their more fashion doll like build are sleeker and more curved than most actual fashion dolls.

      While there are people who do wonderful jobs customizing fashion dolls, bjds are intended from the outset to be changed--everything comes apart and can be changed easily.

      I'm also not sure that fashion doll people tend to treat their dolls in the same way that is common among bjd owners--but I could be wrong, since I'm not very familiar with that community.
    18. This is how I see it: Fashion Doll - Fashion. Clothes model. Made specifically to carry different looks. Not much care for personality or backstory, much less mobility - I own one fashion doll, and her posability compared to say, that of a Uyoo, is absolutely pathetic. As long as they can be redressed, repainted, maybe rerooted if you're adventrous, they serve their purpose. (Rereading this... I suppose Dollfie Dreams fit into this perspective for me. Just a very, very specifc range of looks ) Ball-Jointed Doll - Jointed. Meant to be played with, moved around. Of course, the human body is the best model for clothes, so they are often used to wear little fashionable things. But this is not the focus of the doll, merely a highlight. Many people like just the functions and aesthetics of the body alone, without fancy clothes on it.
    19. I tend to agree that the BJd world is becoming more of a blur between dolls that are more BJD and dolls that err toward the fashion doll world.

      I think there are a couple reasons, as those entering the hobby come from doll collecting backgrounds as opposed to anime fans, many of them like to see the more fashion oriented dolls. Also the general trend toward more realistic and mature bjd body styles.

      I like BJD styled dolls, which may surpise people who know I like fashion and making clothes for my dolls.

      I have friends who prefer the 'fashion-doll' styled BJD. They were doll collectors before the BJD bug bit as was I. And that's fine for them. I started as both a fan of anime and a doll person. I deliberately moved away from fashion dolls when I saw the BJDS.

      I personally was pleased to see a doll that could be beautiful and look great dressed, and was not the unrealisticly-figured, blank-faced barbie type fashion doll. SD10 type girls look awesome, and as a larger women who is often stymied by the fashion industry ideals I find them appealling. I think despite the name the SD10 type body can portray an older girl or woman.

      The only way I'll be dissapointed is if the fashion dolls take over and the Asian BJD aesthetic is lost. As long as one type does not crowd out the other, I think there is room for both types and everything in between to exist.
    20. I tend to believe the difference between traditional fashion dolls and BJDs may lie in cultures of the countries that began producing them. So western fashion dolls were mass produced generic mannequins for fashion since at least Elizabethan times. In the east, at least in Japan, there has long been an attitude that a doll can possess its own spirit, and I think BJDs developed from that sensibility. They are customizable because they are designed to be "more' than a mannequin and for people to relate to them on a whole different level.

      I have always disliked the cheap Barbie type fashion dolls simply because they implied that women were only valuable as unrealistically proportioned accessories for men. I do like fashion, however. I don't have an issue with BJD's that have more western features and that wear western fashions because they are not styled like an unrealistic Barbie body. In addition, owners do not keep them in the box as commodities, they name them, customize them, and relate to them as more than plastic mannequins. It is just a different style of doll play to me to dress up dolls in fashion and take their photos rather than perhaps portray them as story characters.

      PS I find it interesting that this comparison never seems to arise with male dolls. We are seeing plenty more realistic and "hunky" male BJDs and seem Ok with objectifying them much like Barbies are objectified. Odd.