There is a long and a short answer to this question.
The short answer: because of their originality. Allison Katzman is the original creator of the original Blythe dolls. They were originally released by Kenner, then Hasbro in the 1970’s as a fashion doll.
Original Blythe dolls are no longer produced and they didn’t even last very long on the toy shelves, which means if you do a search for one of these dolls, you may find one on Amazon, eBay, or Etsy ranging in price going up to the thousands. Why so expensive? Because these dolls are not intended just for children; they have an appeal that is universal and captures a larger crowd. They are viewed as an art form and popular among doll collectors of all ages. Gina Garan promoted these dolls and kept this niche growing with her book of photography starring a Blythe doll. The original dolls were suited up in a unique outfit and accessorized.
It would be rare to find two dolls that were exactly the same in their clothing and accessories because there was variety to match the diversity of people and the fashion of the times. The dolls were given different names which added to the appeal because you feel like you are purchasing and owning a complete character with all of the fixings, plus a stand. What makes these dolls stand out from other dolls is the option to change the eye position and colour at the pull of a string. It is like having four dolls in one so that eyes can match with clothing or reveal a different expression.
The appeal of the Blythe style of doll, with baby-like features of large eyes and head, continues to grow in popularity presently among Asian markets. This is why the company, Takara, acquired the license to produce more Neo Blythe dolls in 2014. Ashton Drake Galleries also produced 12 Blythe replicas based on 5 original dolls but ceased production in 2008. The most recent original Blythe dolls were released by Hasbro as part of the Littlest Pet Shop line. These dolls are a more modern smaller version sold with pets and don’t have the changing eyes. Since production of the original Blythes by Hasbro and Takara has ceased, these dolls have grown in popularity because of their growing rarity. Neo Blythes can still be ordered online from a seller in Japan for about $200-$400. These Blythe style dolls are still circling the market, currently being altered/improved by professional dollmakers, clothiers and artists and resold at a significantly higher cost. Many of the dolls available online now are improved dolls so you are paying for the time and skill of the artists who alter and fashion them for profit.
However . . .
This desire for even greater uniqueness has paved the way for a cheaper line of dolls that are available for order online for people who may not care about having an original Blythe and would like to make their own clothes and dress their own dolls to their style. For the truly creative, it might prove disastrous to practice altering the doll face on an original Blythe. However, a less expensive version of the Blythe would allow aspiring doll artists to refine their craft and bring forth a modern version of these adorable dolls. These factory dolls or Blythe Icy dolls are the way to do just that and can be purchased at a significantly reduced rate because only the doll without the clothing and accessories may be purchased.
These online dolls may be ordered by hair colour and with different body and moveability options, but may not be fully dressed and accessorized. Many accessories and DIY sites exist now for ordering clothing items separately at a reduced rate and learning how to sew the clothing. Whichever way you go, you will not be disappointed because by taking action to purchase one of these cute dolls, you will have in your possession a little slice of cuteness that is adorably unique.
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