(2 Jul 2018) LEADIN:
Doll enthusiasts have been giving fashion a mini makeover at a new London festival.
For many of them dolls, and what they wear, is proving to be a lasting and often profitable passion.
Whether it's fantasy outfits, 60s styles, or historical costumes, these mini models have got it all covered.
The London Fashion Doll Festival is a new event in the UK bringing together doll designers and collectors from across the world.
They are all devoted to fashion dolls - plastic figurines designed to be dressed up in various outfits.
Barbie is one of the best known fashion dolls, but there are a whole host of others that are aimed at adult collectors just as much as children.
Ibrahim Ismail is one of the organisers and he's very proud of this doll dressed in a nurse's outfit.
"This is a reproduction doll of a vintage doll that I collect, but I haven't brought along the vintage dolls with me, they're worth quite a lot of money at the moment," he says.
"Julia is based on a character played by Diahann Carroll in the late 60s and she was the first African American actress to play a lead role in the US at that time and this doll is based on her, so it's the first celebrity doll that was brought out."
Attention to detail is vital to getting the fashion doll look just right and clothes and accessories like these bags and bangles are handmade to create the perfect look.
Another organiser is Simon Farnworth. He says doll collecting is growing more popular with adults, whereas children's interest in these toys is waning.
"I think one of the main reasons that children are not collecting dolls or buying dolls as much and adults are is that children these days are more computer-focused, they view dolls as old fashioned and also because a lot of the child dolls are aimed at very young children rather than older children as Barbie used to be, with fashions and a bit more updated rather than fantasy dolls that Barbie can be now," he says.
"With the adult dolls you can get absolutely any range of doll you like whether it's high fashion, whether it's general fashion, whether it's fantasy, so there is I think a lot more aimed at adults."
And some of the dolls here are clearly dressed in outfits that are more suitable for older tastes.
The broad range of themes is what make these fashion dolls so intriguing.
There's a high fashion depiction of Alice in Wonderland's Mad Hatter's Tea Party, with its very own tea party accessories.
The tea party theme is not just for the dolls either: organisers are providing afternoon tea for visitors included in their entry fee.
Visitors say the festival is more than just a chance to see collections of toys.
"The reason this festival is so special for me is because you get to meet all these people who you've maybe just spoken to on the internet or seen their pictures and then you see them in person and you get to talk about what you love and you make new friends," says Joe Santall.
Much of the day is spent socialising with other like-minded enthusiasts, and some visitors like Jodie Payne even dress up like their favourite dolls.
Payne says she doesn't know what it is about the dolls that captures her imagination, but there's no doubt that she's got the bug.
With so much colour, attention to detail and a vast array of fashions, it is not difficult to see why these toys are appealing to grown ups.
The London Fashion Doll Festival took place on 30th June 2018 at the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood in London.
Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork
You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/youtube/d9ea8f8554f58cbd217588858c0c3f64