Tree Change Dolls, a project of forgotten dolls rescued by a Tasmanian artist

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Rubén Escobar (
  • Sonia Singh, screenshot taken from a Youtube video. Image: Youtube
    Sonia Singh, screenshot taken from a Youtube video. Image: Youtube.
  • Before and after, the process of renovating a doll. Image: Tree Change Dolls
    Before and after, the process of renovating a doll. Image: Tree Change Dolls.
  • Some of the dolls created by Singh. Photo: Instagram
    Some of the dolls created by Singh. Photo: Instagram.

Tree Change Dolls, a project where fashion dolls swap their high-maintenance habits for down-to-earth style aiming to fight against beauty stereotypes.

Tree Change Dolls is a project created by a Tasmanian artist called Sonia Singh, an initiative that has its main point on rescuing and rehabilitating dolls from op-shops, tip shops and second-hand shops around Tasmania. Beauty stereotypes have suffered a lot of changes from the past few years and this is exactly what the creations of Singh are pursuing: swapping high-maintenance and high-fashion habits from dolls for a more credible down-to-earth style. To do so, Sonia repaints the dolls faces, molds new feet or shoes and her mum sews and knits their clothing.

Nowadays, social networks are leading the role to support a revolution on physical image. Singh decided to restyle the faces of the dolls by removing the factory paint from dolls and repainting them by giving them makeunders and a personalized style. “I made clothes for the first group of dolls I upcycled but soon my mum, an expert knitter and sewer, offered to clothe the dolls”, states Singh. However, this initiative is not only aiming to take advantage of selling dolls, but is also encouraging people to become part of the re-styled doll movement. In this sense, Singh has shared  a Do-It-Yourself Information Guide to re-style dolls and has invited children, grandparents, family and friends to get involved and give a new lease on life rather than leaving them in a landfill.

Beginning of 2016, Singh donated 10% of al doll sales to a charity of her choice. Charities she supports are International Women’s Development Agency, Tasmanian Land Conservancy (TLC), Global March Against Child Labour, Save the Children, Greening Australia and Plan International Australia. Previously, in March 2015, she auctioned a doll and donated 925$ money raised for the agency supporting women throughout the Asia-Pacific region and did the same raising 1260$AUD in April and donating it to TLC, an organization that protects land important for biodiversity and endangered species. Finally, in May 2015 she donated 85% of the proceeds of the auctioned doll to the Global March Against Child Labour.

Tree Change Dolls already has almost 500.000 followers on Facebook. After posing some of the first transformed dolls in her garden and posting pictures online, they went viral. She succeeded in a way that even journalists and an Australian TV network contacted her to film a news story on the dolls. The story, produced by Rani Chaleyer with camera work by Daniel Hartley-Allen went online and was viewed within Facebook around 25 million times.


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