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Unveiling the 'Dolliverse'

By Meng Wenjie | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-11-22 07:27
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One of Cao Yuan's "Baopiqi" dolls sports a grumpy face.CHINA DAILY

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The community of doll enthusiasts is long-standing, but it remains smaller than other contemporary subcultural hobbies.

Lenz explained that many people still tend to associate dolls with childishness, thinking that "adults should not be playing with toys".

She also mentioned the "Uncanny Valley" phenomenon, where items appearing "almost human" are often perceived as strange or deformed. "Some people find dolls a bit weird," Lenz said.

However, as the younger generation becomes more accepting of subcultures, an increasing number of new enthusiasts are joining the group.

A commonly held sentiment among enthusiasts is the significance of finding the dolls you really like. "Products in the doll industry undergo continuous updates, urging both consumers and designers to refrain from blindly following trends," Chen said. "I hope everyone can find joy in their favorite dolls and experience pure happiness."

Li also emphasized the importance for new enthusiasts to be mindful of copyright issues. He warned of potential pirated dolls flooding the market as it expands, cautioning against sellers replicating molds and selling imitations at lower prices. "Overall, doll enthusiasts are highly resistant to piracy," he said.

From a designer's perspective, Cao pointed out the unique challenges faced by the doll industry: many designer products are handmade, distinct from mass-produced toys, so they need a longer production process that demands patience from new fans.

"This may be one of the reasons for the slow expansion of the doll fandom community," he said.

Cao hopes to see more talented designers entering the industry. "This will lead to more diverse aesthetic designs and contribute to the overall positive development of the industry."

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