It’s less of the case today, but in the 1980’s little girls were generally either Sindy Girls or Barbie Girls (please don’t start singing at this point!). Today Barbie has garnered a pretty big share of the dress up doll market, but in the 1980’s Sindy just had the edge, in the UK at least.
My sister was a Sindy Girl, and I’m quite glad about that, given that her body shape was more representative of that of a real woman. You can imagine if she was scaled up to human size she would look like a woman. Barbie on the other hand is too long and thin. If you were to scale her up by the same amount I reckon she would probably need to be about 7 feet tall. In this day and age, with young girls striving to look like skinny supermodels, Sindy would be a better role model.
Sindy first appeared in the 1960’s, and she was generally sold with a single outfit of clothes. Extra clothes could be bought separately so you only ever needed a single doll. Of course, sometimes a particular outfit was only available with a new doll, but you could always try and buy a Sindy with a different colour of hair to the one you already had.
By the 1980’s, not wanting to be outdone by Barbie, Sindy had amassed a range of accessories such as a house, a beauty salon, a car and a horse. One of the best accessories my sister had was her “working” cooker. This came out at around the time that having a toy that made sounds (almost impossible not to have these days) was becoming affordable for toy manufacturers. The cooker was a very cleverly made toy that came with some pots and pans and a kettle. When one of these was placed on the cooker’s hob, a bubbling sound, or in the case of the kettle a high pitched whistle, would be heard.
Sindy was also graced with a boyfriend named Paul (again in order to keep up with Barbie and Ken), and a younger sister who was bizarrely named Patch, which sounds more like a name for a dog than a younger sister. Unfortunately in 1986 Pedigree, the makers of Sindy, sold her off to Hasbro, the makers of Barbie, and Sindy faded away. The good news is that in 1998 the rights reverted to Pedigree, who licensed out to toy maker Vivid Imaginations, and a new range of Sindy dolls (and friends) was launched in 1999.
For more pictures of Sindy in her various guises and outfits, surf over to Sindy-Dolls.com, who have thousands of pictures of Sindy and also many more of her rivals from over the years.