By now most of you have probably heard about Lammily, the doll designed by digital artist Nickolay Lamm to match the proportions of an “average” nineteen year old. As a long-time doll-lover, I like the idea, and I have been curious about her and the way she looks, so I took the opportunity to give the first edition doll a good looking-over as soon as I could.
First impressions: She’s a pleasant-looking, friendly doll with a very nicely painted face (it actually looks nicer in person than any of her official photos hint). She has fingers! More, she has toes. She can walk barefoot! And her clothes are nicely detailed; the top is a shaded dark blue with minute buttons, and there is outline stitching and buttons on the shorts. The clothes fasten with velcro without looking bulky at the fastenings. Also, her hair is super-soft and multi-shaded–and brown, which makes me far happier than I would have expected–I thought I was over worrying about the default coloring of a doll’s hair: Turns out, I was wrong.
Getting Lammily out and handling her more, I find that her legs are not that flexible—her knees bend a little bit, but not a lot, and when I tried to make her sit, the velcro fastening in front of her shorts split open. Her shoulders and arms have a really good range of motion, and her head turns and nods well, in addition to giving the impression of being quite firmly attached (You will understand, I think, why I did not keep pulling until it came off). Her ankles and wrists have some flex and turn, but that comes at the expense of leaving them vulnerable: When I took her very tight shoes off, one foot came too. It popped back in pretty easily, but I wonder how long that will last before the plastic at the ankles gets distorted and will not hold.
She comes with a short brochure detailing her world travels: She’s learned to ice skate in Toronto: “Even though I stumbled, it was the beginning of a new adventure,” chatted with a shop owner in Paris, and helped a man fix his bicycle in Brooklyn Park, among other things. This gives her a back-story that is a nice blend of the adventurous and the down-to-earth: She stumbles while she learns, just like anyone else—but she goes on. She also, unlike most people, gets to world travel, but “average” doll or not, dreams are always part of the package.
How does Lammily compare to Barbie? Does she have to? To give the last question a somewhat obvious answer: She has to do well enough that people want her; she doesn’t need to displace Barbie, and I think she has a good chance at that . Overall, the initial Lammily is a lot nicer than the “basic” Barbie doll, whose clothes are far less detailed. She doesn’t have the styleable hair of the longer-haired Barbies, but at close to waist-length, it can, at least, be gathered into a pony tail, which is comparable to the Barbies with similar length hair, and the look of hear hair is a step up from Barbie, with the shaded, sun-streaked look and a super-soft feel. So, while she does not have the glamour of, say, Holiday Barbie, she can hold her own against most of the dolls on the shelf—and I speak as someone who still goes over to look at the Barbie aisle on most trips to the store and who still owns a couple Barbies of her own.
The biggest drawback at the moment is that Lammily only comes as a white woman with brown hair. Anyone with a different skin color is currently left out of her “average” world. In that regard, the proposed 2015 roll out of a more diverse range cannot come too soon (See Emily Lamm’s comment on the subject here (Down in the comments section), and also the FAQ note).
On a lesser level, I’ve seen people asking for more clothing designs and commenting that they hope there will be patterns out soon for do-it-yourself clothes. There are already a few clothes out on the site, including a several traveling outfits (I love Rocking London!), all of which have at least two variations, and more are promised. As for do-it-yourself patterns, I give it a week, at most, before they start popping up on Pinterest.
It’s also possible to buy “Lammily Marks,” a set of stickers including acne, moles, stretch marks, as well as some tattoos, scratches, and glasses. The acne and moles are a laudable idea, but I honestly cannot see any girl actually choosing to apply them. Claiming that “all of these concealed features are beautiful” is laudably optimistic but it’s unlikely to convince anyone that acne is ok. Also, as I mentioned, dreams and hopes are always part of the package, and acne is not on anyone’s wish-list. On the other hand, there are several features in the sticker I can see being used—scratches when she falls down, perhaps, or scars to match a child’s own, and definitely tattoos.
Overall, I think Lammily has staying power. There’s room for her to fit in the world of fashion dolls, she’s at least as easy to change as any other doll I’ve handled, and, while she may not yet have a plethora of careers, she does come with tales of world travel and an explorer’s outlook, and her more normal-looking proportions are definitely a plus.
What do you think? Lammily lover or not? Also, I’d love to hear how she holds up under normal play conditions.