Headscarf-Wearing Dolls Appeal to Inclusive Gen Alpha
Gen Alpha (aged nought to eight) is promising to be an empathetic and socially conscious cohort, raised by parents with an increased awareness of inclusivity. As explored in Gen Alpha: Raising the Superkids, brands should cater to this new generation’s progressive parents by developing toys that represent diverse lifestyles – a feat that’s been achieved by Dubai-based doll brand Salam Sisters.
Parent company Zileej designs technology and children’s games to aid Muslim users in practising their faith. Sub-brand Salam Sisters has created a collection of plastic dolls depicting a culturally varied group of friends who all share the Islamic faith.
The five characters – Layla, Yasmina, Maryam, Karima and Nura – each have different facial characteristics and coloured and textured hair to represent a range of ethnic backgrounds. Each girl comes with an undercap and hijab scarf that are easily fastened with Velcro. The headscarf encourages creative expression, with the elasticated material able to be worn and decorated in different ways.
Salam Sisters advocates for young girls to be motivated and confident and to “dream big”. Veering away from the softer interests that are usually prescribed to dolls, each Salam Sister is assigned socially minded passions, such as wellbeing, outer space, charity and social leadership.
Salam Sisters offers an accompanying app that mimics Snapchat, allowing users to take selfies with their favourite characters and decorate the images. Also available is a playmat that users can scan via the app to create on-screen augmented reality animations, bringing the characters to life.
As we saw at this year’s London Toy Fair, toy brands are starting to appreciate the important role that spirituality and emotional wellbeing has in the early stages of development. Now is the time for brands to support the invisible needs of their users and create more engaging and meaningful product.