Who doesn't remember those Tactel tracksuits? In the 90s many children and adults had at least one in their closet.
The boom in sports fashion exploded in the late 80s, splashing everything. New technologies had made it possible to create microfibers with very good properties, with Dupont being the leading company with its brand Tactel, a soft, light and breathable fiber that dried eight times faster than cotton and was three times more resistant, therefore it was used at first for ski equipment but it soon jumped to the forefront of fashion.
At that time, series such as The Fresh Prince broke out with force with Will Smith who made children and adults want to wear like him, with his rapper look and Air Jordans. The tracksuit fashion sneaked into every corner and, if Dupont put the fabric, the brand Starter had a say with the rest with its licenses from sports leagues such as the NBA and sponsors from the hip hop and rap world that was living its golden age, as DJ Jazzy Jeff, that Will's friend whom Uncle Phil flew out of the house but who in real life was a renowned DJ.
The world of rap looked to Africa and this provided a very colorful fashion and tribal-inspired prints that were mixed with that sporty trend. And, as is normal, Barbie adopted those fashions. The vivid prints, fluor colors and fabrics were reflected in some of her "fashions" but they also reached their doll lines in models such as Totally Hair with a Ken dressed in a Tactel shirt with a Pucci inspired print and parachure trousers like those worn by breakdancers, or the Camp line with its Tactel jackets and sacks for camping under the stars.
This last line, far from being just another Barbie line, contains in its characters bits of the casual fashion of the 90s because in addition to those Tactel jackets we find cropped tops, washed jeans and of course a Ken with a flannel shirt in the purest grunge style.
And it is that one of the premises that Charlotte Johnson had clear from the beginning was to dress Barbie with clothes that children could identify in their day to day life and in this way, far from being simple lines of dolls, they were a compass of what what was happening in the world and a great reflection of society and its fashions. In some ways ... the 90s were a great time to be a kid!
by The Barbiest