Meet the Fil-Am designer who makes hundreds of Barbie dolls for Mattel

LOS ANGELES — Carlyle Nuera plays with dolls for a living.

The Southern California-born and raised Filipino is an artist and designer for Mattel, the makers of the iconic Barbie.

“It’s kinda surreal, because I always played with Barbies as a kid ever since I was a teenager — so I always played, collected, customized photographed Barbies and to be on the other side of the looking glass, designing barbies for other people it’s definitely surreal.”

A graduate of Otis College, in Southern California Nuera, who studied fashion and product design, landed the dream job at the nearby Mattel headquarters in El Segundo.

In his 9 years with Mattel, Nuera has designed well over a hundred Barbies, including the 2015 Mutya Barbie.

“I wanted to design her to represent the classic Filipino garnet, the turno, that’s what I wanted to put her in. That turno, there’s a print that features the Filipino flag and also there’s embroidery on the hem of the turno inspired by the sampaguita. I wanted to include all these details that were inherently Filipino. And of course her name too Mutya.”

This year, Barbie celebrates her 60th year, and this week Mattel launched the BRM 1959 collection — which showcases 6 dolls, including a pair of Ken dolls designed by Nuera.

They had a special launch event in the trendy Melrose district of Los Angeles.

In recent years, the Barbie line, which began as a tall busty blonde has become more diverse, something that gives the Fil-Am designer an even brighter creative spark.

“Barbie has always been a reflection of society so as society changed Barbie changed as well so now the barbie brand is all about inclusivity so we have curvy Barbie, tall Barbie, petite Barbie, we have different skin tones, facial features, hair textures, all different kind of fashion styles too. It’s evident in this line too.”

The limited-edition BRM 1959 is available online on Barbie’s website, as well as other retailers.

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