Last week, the daughter and I rocked up to the launch of a new children's fashion toy called Harumika. Daughterino is nine, and just at that age where she's taking an interest in what she wears and developing her own personal style. I wouldn't dare buy her clothes any more without her being there. But as well as growing into a young lady, she's still a little girl who likes art and crafts and making things. So Harumika is perfect for her, since it consists of mini mannequins, things to stick and create with, and the chance to use your imagination and show the designers how it's done. With minimal mess - I like toys that can deliver minimal mess. The launch was kicked off by a fashion masterclass from the lovely Fatima Bholah, style and beauty editor for Bliss Magazine. She's been busy styling Girls Aloud and Alexandra Burke, and she showed us how to create some star looks on the little dolls. Within minutes, the girls were recreating signature looks of Cheryl Cole, Miley Cyrus and Emma Watson. Then they went on to create their own designs.
What makes this toy different is that that you wrap material around the doll, then tuck it in at the back, so there's no sewing or sticking required. Fellow mummy blogger A Mother's Ramblings was also there, and her daughter, who was much younger than mine, had no trouble managing the fiddly bits.
I'd say this toy would be popular with girls from around five up to early teens. They can either use it to copy their favourite star style, or create something unique. The only down side I could see with it is that once a child has created a look, they have to take it off the doll before they can create another one. But the girls at the launch weren't at all bothered by this - they kept wrapping round bits of fabric and adding stickers to customise their mannequin.
It's a great toy for girls who are beginning to get interested in fashion, but whose mothers don't want them attempting to dress like a catwalk model just yet. And who knows - it might just inspire your daughter to become the next Coco Chanel or Vivienne Westwood. Harumika from Bandai is available in toyshops now, with a starter set priced around £19.99. The starter set includes two mannequins, lots of fabric and accessories, stickers, flowers and ribbons to customise your design. Find out more at the website here.