When I was a young girl, one of my favourite toys was my Girls' World Fashion Plates:
The idea was to select a head, top and bottom half of each person and then to choose a pattern for each item of clothing. I completely loved playing the hand-me-down toy from my sister, even if the stylings were a little 1970s!
Move forward a couple of decades and the world of the young fashion designer has changed quite significantly. They can still design outfits and select the fabrics or patterns, but now that happens in 3D using a mini mannequin and fabric swatches! This is the world of Harumika, an award winning and unique toy that has become a massive hit since its introduction to the world in 2009.
It's a far more practical and responsive way for young fashion designers to test out their designs and styles, and doesn't require any needles, thread, glue or scissors, making it a very safe activity for children over six years old. (And I say children because I refuse to confine this type of toy to the world of girls alone, Julien MacDonald and Matthew Williamson would have something to say about it, I'm sure!) Harumika works by layering, folding and customising fabrics and accents using the silicon strip at the back of the dress form. All the materials and accessories are reusable so the possibilities are endless; if you don't like your design just start all over again!
I was sent the new Harumika Pop Diva Set for my nine year old niece to review, and I made her world when I gave it to her; her life-size mannequin which she uses to style her outfits is testimony to how much she loves Harumika! The Pop Diva Set includes one purple dress form and two removable corsets enabling the budding designer to create different shaped skirts and dresses with the selection of funky fabrics and accessories.
This is the colourful and stylish design that she (and The Boy who was keen to help!) came up with using the long corset:
The long corset skirt easily comes unclipped and the short corset can be clipped around the torso to help create shorter versions of the designs.
My niece was over the moon with the set, she particularly liked that there was a small slot on the chest to create some halterneck styles or a fancy collar, and the different length corsets. I do think they Harumika is an excellent toy for budding fashion designers, although for the price of the sets a few more fabric swatches would be quite useful as this set had only five in it. Overall though, it's a brilliant toy and is so nice to see her using her imagination to play and not be in a rush to grow up.
The Pop Diva set comes out in July with a RRP of £34.99
I was sent this product for the purpose of this review; my opinion, and that of my niece, is honest and unbiased.