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Kim Culmone sitting at her desk wearing a black long sleeve shirt, Barbie dolls on desk

Grad Kim Culmone is Senior VP and Global Head of Design for Barbie and Fashion Dolls at Mattel

A graduate of FIDM's Textile Design Program, Kim Culmone now serves as Senior Vice President and Global Head of Design for Barbie and Fashion Dolls at Mattel Inc. Kim and her award-winning team of product and graphic designers are committed to keeping the brands they steward innovative and reflective of the world kids see around them. Kim is entrusted with the creative direction of Mattel’s flagship brand Barbie, a category leader in innovation and a source of inspiration to children around the world for over 60 years. 

Prior to her current expanded role, Kim was Vice President of Design for Barbie. From 2013-2019 she was responsible for all product and packaging for the brand. During that time, she helped launch the popular @BarbieStyle Instagram channel that now has over 2.2 million followers and unprecedented social media engagement within the toy industry. Kim also served as Vice President, Consumer Products Design from 2010-2013, setting the creative vision for style guide development and licensed product design for Mattel’s global dolls brands, including Barbie, Monster High and Polly Pocket. In this role she led Mattel’s licensing design teams around the world and developed product in over 50 categories in partnership with licensees in over 150 countries. 

Kim started her career at Mattel in 1999 as a designer for Barbie. Throughout her 20-year tenure at the company, Kim has maintained a creative process that emphasizes purpose-driven, human-centric design. As featured in the Hulu documentary Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie, in 2015 she led the design of the most ethnically diverse doll line in the brand’s history. That line included the introduction of three new doll body types—curvy, tall and petite. This bold product reinvention generated 5 billion media impressions, led to a TIME cover, was named one of the “Top 25 Inventions of 2016” by the magazine and received the Barbie brand’s first-ever “Doll of the Year Award”, a coveted honor from the Toy Industry Association. Today Barbie is the most diverse doll line on the market. 

Further pushing diversity and inclusivity efforts across the doll portfolio, Kim oversaw design of Creatable World, the first gender-inclusive doll line to challenge traditional views around who a doll was for. The line, inviting all kids to play, sparked cultural conversation heard around the world and was named one of Time’s 2019 Best Inventions.

In addition to her degree from FIDM, Kim holds a design degree from Louisiana State University. Prior to joining Mattel, she co-founded and was creative director of the Los Angeles-based textile art studio, The Design Garage Inc. She is passionate about the advancement of women and girls, supports the arts and LGBTQ+ organizations in her community and serves on the board of directors for the Wright Institute Los Angeles, a mental health non-profit organization and clinic, Chickenshed NYC, a non-profit inclusive children’s theater company.

Categories:  Design Textile Design Alumni