Balkan Barbie: A Bosnian Girl makes Costumes for the Popular Dolls

Southeast Europe | August 17, 2023, Thursday // 13:34|  views

A Bosnian girl is making traditional Balkan costumes with hats and decorative aprons for Barbie dolls, hoping to spark interest in her "folklore Barbie" as the new film of the same name wins fans around the world.

Eleven-year-old Esma Gliva from Sarajevo started her project more than a month ago after seeing souvenir dolls of poor quality in the store - they have no moving parts and their clothes are just glued on.

"These were some plastic dolls dressed in folk costumes, they weren't even real dolls... they weren't properly dressed at all," Esma told Reuters, showing off her collection. "I tried to do them in a better way and I think I succeeded," she said.

Esma has yet to see the Barbie movie, but her friends and family say she embodies the spirit of female independence and enterprise that dominates the film.

Growing up in a family of avid folk dance enthusiasts, Esma learned a lot about Bosnia's multi-religious traditions and was herself a member of a local folk group.

She is very detail-oriented in making dolls dressed in traditional Muslim, Orthodox and Catholic costumes, taking care of the hairstyles and miniature jewelry.


The girl says she would name her dolls "Bosnian Barbie Dolls" and plans Bosnian folklore Ken costumes.

Esma receives orders for her dolls every day, having sent them to Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Turkmenistan, Norway, Great Britain and other countries.

"We are so proud that she embraced this project with such dedication and spent her summer vacation doing this", said Adana Gliva, Esma's mother. "This is how she also earns her pocket money".

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Tags: barbie, bosnian, dolls, folklore


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