Barbie’s ensembles were beautiful, high quality, and showed attention to detail. Of course you would expect to find a lovely woven label sewn into her clothes. This is also the first hint to a collector that her clothing was made from 1959 to 1972.
Labels on Barbie’s clothing are usually only found on one piece of an ensemble. As an example, if the outfit consisted of skirt, top, and jacket, the label would be on the jacket because it is the outer most piece of clothing. If you were wondering if it is the same for Ken, it is not. Most of the time, the label would be found on his shirt even if he had a jacket as part of the ensemble. In 1972 labels were still found on Barbie clothing, but there were no labels on the "Best Buy" fashions.
From 1973 to 1977 Mattel did not put any labels on Barbie’s clothing. In 1978 and 1979 (and early 1980's) they used a they used a black and white label that reads: " a Genuine Barbie ® Fashion". In the 1980's and early 1990's pink, black, and purple labels with the letter “B” printed on them. By 2004 there were several different styles of labels appearing on Barbie’s ensemble, depending on the series of the doll. There are pink, platinum, gold, and black labels.
Pink and Black Label dolls are not in limited editions. The pink are for all ages, and the black label dolls are for adult collectors. Once you get to the Gold Label, these dolls are numbered and in limited editions of no more than 25,000 worldwide, although there might be only 3500 as an example in a certain doll. Finally the Platinum Label dolls; these are limited to 1000 or less worldwide.
The lettering that is on the zipper pulls of Barbie’s fashions are “YKK”. This is the actual name of the company that made the zippers, tiny fasteners for the clothing, and the miniature accessories for the ensembles. The company was founded by Yoshida Kogig.
On Barbie’s shoes, it is easy to tell the right from the left; the left shoe is marked with the word “Japan” on the bottom of the sole. There is one exception to the marking on her shoes. Barbie’s rare closed toe spikes had Japan marked on both the right shoe and the left. All of Barbie’s shoes were made in Japan through 1972. In 1968 Skipper and Ken did have some shoes that were made in Taiwan. (Shoes that say made in Hong Kong or the ones that have 2 small holes in the soles are not Mattel products.)