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Article 9 American Collectors - Magazine Article - Sindy Britain’s Sensational Teenage Fashion Doll. Story & Photo’s by Carol J. Stover
Collectors of teenage fashion dolls will be interested in the story of Sindy, England's sensational fashion doll, which was introduced more than 35 years ago and is still popular today. She is difficult to find in the United States and, in fact, an early Sindy is even difficult to find in England today. However, if you are fortunate enough to encounter an original Sindy (or Sindy #1 as some refer to her) or any subsequent version, you will undoubtedly be struck by her charm. Sindy's story provides an intriguing glimpse at doll trends in the United Kingdom and at a long lasting doll brand.
In the early 1960s, the well-known British doll company Pedigree Soft Toys, Ltd., a division of Lines Bros. Ltd. at the time, decided to tap into the growing market for fashion dolls by adding one to its line. Undoubtedly influenced by the success of Mattel's 11 inch Barbie in the United States, Pedigree decided to create a slightly Iarger doll. In 1963 it introduced the 12-inch Sindy in the United Kingdom.

The Original Sindy
Pedigree's first Sindy was designed to be a fashion doll, but she did not have the mature fashion-model look of Mattel's Barbie or other more adult like fashion dolls. Instead, she had a "girl-next-door" look and strikingly resembled Ideal's sweet and wholesome-looking Tammy, which had been introduced in the United States in 1962. Sindy's youthful look was aimed at the taste of the British market. Her soft-vinyl head had a light flesh tone with painted side-glancing blue eyes. Her generously rooted hair came in blond, brown and reddish brown, and was always held in place with a red headband. While her straight soft vinyl arms were flexible, they were not poseable, and the fingers were all separate, with flat palms. Her body was made of a hard vinyl (or plastic product), which can grow more yellow with age than the head and arms. Mold marks were clearly visible, especially on the legs, and she was jointed at the neck, arms and legs; the seat detail was a deep "Y." Interestingly, the neck was molded in one piece with the vinyl head, and it fit directly into the body's neck cavity. The doll's waist did not twist, the knees did not bend, there was minimum toe detail, and her feet were flat. She was simply marked "Made in England" on the neck and was presented in a pink box. An unmarked version of this original style Sindy has also been found. Made from a vinyl with more pink in the pigment, it has arms that are slightly more bent at the elbows, and smooth seams on its arms and legs. These dolls probably were produced later and/or at one of Pedigree's other plants, such as the one in New Zealand.

Not only did the original Sindy have a wholesome look, but her first eight outfits were also rather traditional. The most famous of them was "Sindy In Weekenders." This classic outfit included the popular denim jeans stencilled with yellow "stitching," a red, white and blue striped cotton jersey that snapped in the back of the neck, and white vinyl sneaker like shoes with molded laces. Pedigree reinforced the fun of collecting Sindy fashions by advertising on the box, "Sindy-The Doll You Love To Dress."
Pedigree counted on the popularity of these outfits in the British market, and most styles had traditional names like "Lunch Date" and “Country Walk." Yet Pedigree kept the look fresh through the 1960s by also calling in famous designers, such as the UK's own Mary Quant, to create fashions for the doll. Sindy's tall boots, op-art designs and PVC fabrics added just enough flair to keep her traditional, yet stylish. The clothing was always well made of fabrics that could withstand playtime. Whatever Sindy wore, she was always very popular in the European market.

1968-1970: The New-Faced Sindy
Sindy and her fashionable wardrobe were so successful that Pedigree made no changes until 1968. That year Sindy's face was redesigned. The basic wholesome look of the doll and the painted side-glancing eyes remained, but a row of tiny, dark eyelashes was added just above the eye for a more realistic look. This doll became known as the new-faced Sindy. The rooted hairstyle was changed to a less bouffant look, and a more sophisticated, longer flip style in blond, black or auburn was created. For an even more stylish look, a side part was added. Pedigree also redesigned the body, adding a twist waist and bendable legs that greatly enhanced the doll's play value. The company then promoted the "...twisty waist Sindy" in all its advertising materials.
The new-faced Sindy continued to have fashionable outfits that were primarily leisure and/or sports oriented. However, some gowns were also included in her wardrobe, and patterns for knitted Sindy outfits were even sold by woolen companies so that little mothers" could knit their own Sindy outfits. Many dolls are found today in these hand-knit outfits.
One very successful Sindy marketing program was introduced in the 1960s and lasted for many years. A Sindy Club was created for "little readers in the United Kingdom." Each member received a membership card
and a Sindy Medallion necklace (i.e. a little girl's bracelet). A charm bracelet with a special charm was also included in many boxes. The company cleverly offered Sindy fans opportunities to buy additional charms with the purchase of other members of Sindy's growing family of dolls, including Patch, her little sister, and friends Paul & Mitzi.
The 1970’s

Innovations in Sindy's design were introduced one after the other to keep pace with the mod fashions and trendy tastes of the 1970s. The major changes were in the doll's body design. Sindy was now promoted as being more "alive." Improvements in her body design included the following:

In 1970 Sindy had the 1968 face and twisting waist, but her hair now had a centre part, and she wore a headband. The vinyl was tanner in colour. She was marked on her lower back (033030), upper back (022029) and head (03055).
Walking Sindy, circa 1970, was a twisting-waist doll that also had unique J hip joints that allowed her to walk, bendable (poseable) knees and flexible (not poseable) arms. In 1975 the arms and legs were made thinner; even the doll's fingers were slimmer. By then the face had wider temples and cheeks, and slightly wider eyes. This version had no marks on the back, but was marked 033055x on the neck.

Lovely Lively Sindy, circa 1971, had joints at the elbows (not wrists), and at the head, shoulders, waist and hips, and could be bent at the knees.
Funtime Sindy, circa 1974, had bendable knees and arms, and a twist waist. This Sindy tended to have cute shorter hairstyles. Active Sindy, circa 1976, was a ballerina that became a huge success. In fact, it is reported that ballerinas were the most popular Sindy doll of all. A separate jointed neck provided increased poseability. Other features included: bending arms and legs (clicking action), jointed wrists and ankles, and joints at the hips and shoulders that rotated. This doll had no marks on the back, but was marked 2GEN1077/033055x on her head.

Sweet Dreams Sindy, circa 1979, was the first version of the doll to have sleep eyes.
In addition to all of these changes in the 1970s, other features, such as the doll's head size, face and hairstyles, were occasionally modified, too. For example, in 1971 the doll's face was slightly smaller. By the mid 1970s shorter hairdos were brought back, and in 1979 the sleep-eyelashes were longer. Outfits continued to be made for every conceivable occasion, including work, leisure, sports, bedtime and, as always, parties. Of course, more active body styles called for trendy fashions, such as bell-bottoms, hot pants, midi outfits, minis and ponchos.

The 1980s and 1990s
Sweet Dreams Sindy, Funtime Sindy and Active Sindy all continued to be made into 1980, and some new dolls were introduced, such as Styling Sindy, which had waist-long hair. However, there were several notable changes in the 1980s. One change was the inclusion of shorter hairstyles reportedly reflecting the style of Princess Diana, the new bride of Prince Charles. Another strong influence was the popularity in the United Kingdom of continuing-drama-series for adults (i.e. evening "soap opera" shows) emanating from the United States. For example, the television program Dynasty, which debuted during this era, further glamorized fashions, having an effect on fashion dolls in both countries. As a result, Sindy's appeal began to drop in favour of dolls perceived as more glamorous, notably Barbie. Based on this market demand, designers reportedly further enhanced Sindy's glamorous appeal.

By 1986 Sindy's face had been completely restyled for a more modern look. She had a wider mouth and a flatter, more youthful face. She retained her painted side-glancing eyes, but the rooted eyelashes were gone.
Perhaps the major influence on changes to Sindy in the 1980s was a change in the rights to the doll. It has been reported that effective in 1986, Pedigree reached a special agreement with Hasbro giving that company the rights to the Sindy brand. Hasbro completely restyled Sindy's face once again in 1987. Sindy’s new look for the British market was closer to Barbie's look, too close, apparently, for Mattel's comfort. In 1996 Hasbro reportedly agreed to sculpt a new Sindy head that would be approved by both Hasbro and Mattel.
While Sindy's head and body changed throughout the 1980s and '90s, some things did not. The doll maintained a trendy and also glamorous wardrobe. Popular pastimes of the decade-disco dancing, jazz dancing, ice dancing, and even roller-blading were incorporated into Sindy's costuming, along with updated glamorous outfits. This fashionable look has remained critical to the doll's popularity. The outfits were well made, and it was easy to dress and undress the doll. Innovations in the doll's features also continue to be important to Sindy's promotion. For example, Sindy and Paul with "Magic Eyes" by Hasbro were marketed beginning in 1995. Thanks to levers cleverly placed in the back of the doll heads, Sindy as Prom Queen could move her eyes to the side to gaze lovingly at Prom King Paul who could wink at her. Now that's excitement!
Non-English Sindys While Pedigree was an English company, not all of the Sindy dolls were actually manufactured in that country. After the initial production of the doll in England in 1963, Pedigree manufactured many dolls in its foreign plants for economic reasons. Its New Zealand plant was particularly active in the manufacture of Sindy. Doll boxes indicate that there were also foreign licensing agreements with companies in France, Germany, Holland and Spain. These foreign-made dolls exhibit some unique body joints and fashions, but the Sindy logo is always clearly visible on the box.
New Zealand plant was particularly active in the manufacture of Sindy. Doll boxes indicate that there were also foreign licensing agreements with companies in France, Germany, Holland and Spain. These foreign-made dolls exhibit some unique body joints and fashions, but the Sindy logo is always clearly visible on the box.

One of the most interesting and successful Sindy dolls was produced in the United States by Marx, one of the world's largest toy manufacturers, in 1978 and 1979 and available in the United States into 1980. This version had the Active Sindy body with jointed wrists, bendable knees (clicking action), bending arms and a twist waist. Her face had painted side glancing eyes with rooted lashes, and her hair was a glossy synthetic rooted material with a centre-part style.