The most popular kids of the 1980s had ugly fat squished faces, stumpy arms and chubby little hands . . . They were The Cabbage Patch Kids.
No two dolls were alike as the computer-controlled production line process ensured subtle differences during manufacture. Each doll came with an adoption certificate (so not only were they ugly and fat, they were adopted – what were we trying to teach our kids?).
Cabbage Patch Dolls were created by 21-year-old American art student and sculptor, Xavier Roberts. He used quilting skills learned from his mother to stitch together fabric dolls, which he called The Little People.
Although Roberts didn’t sell his dolls, he took them to various art fairs where they eventually drew the attention of toy-maker Coleco, who acquired the licence for the dolls, renamed them Cabbage Patch Kids and mass-produced them ready for the dolls to go on sale in the US in 1983.
As Christmas approached, parents became increasingly desperate to ‘adopt’ one for their child.
75 million were sold worldwide in 12 years.
Coleco went out of business but the licence to manufacture Cabbage Patch Kids passed from one toy company to another. The range is still going strong with new designs introduced, including adoptable pets.