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American Girl goes Y2K: The brand's first twin characters are living in 1990s Seattle

Twins Isabel and Nicki are looking ahead to Y2K while living in '90s Seattle. (Photo: Jeremy Lloyd, Judy Haft; courtesy of American Girl)
Twins Isabel and Nicki are looking ahead to Y2K while living in '90s Seattle. (Photo: Jeremy Lloyd, Judy Haft; courtesy of American Girl)

While many a millennial mom may clutch her Spice Girls baby tee at the thought of the 1990s being considered a "historical" period, American Girl is jumping on the Y2K bandwagon with its latest nostalgic release. Meet Isabel and Nicki Hoffman — the doll brand's first set of twin characters — sisters living in the grunge capital of Seattle while looking ahead to the approaching new millennium. That's right: The company that gave us Felicity and Samantha is ready to party like it's 1999.

The twins' story touches on pivotal moments from that era — including the tech boom, society’s first introduction to the internet for personal use and the recognition of women in technology, including their mom, who’s helping to fix the Y2K bug. Their story also taps into pop culture moments of the day, including fashion trends. While Isabel is clearly taking style cues from Clueless's Cher Horowitz with her miniskirt, knee-high socks and beret chicly embellished with American Girl's '90s-era Grin Pins, Nicki has a sportier, Alex Mack-esque style: think backwards baseball caps, chokers and slip dresses over baby tees. In a nod to their Seattle hometown, however, neither can resist a touch of flannel.

The fraternal twins share the same birthday — and happen to be Geminis — but are “as different as glitter and grunge,” the brand says in a release. Nicki is described as “thoughtful, introverted and passionate about skateboarding,” while Isabel is “bubbly, extroverted and very into pop music,” American Girl shares.

Isabel and Nicki are the brand's first twin characters. (Photo: Jeremy Lloyd, Judy Haft; courtesy of American Girl)
Isabel and Nicki are the brand's first twin characters. (Photo: Jeremy Lloyd, Judy Haft; courtesy of American Girl)

“Given the prevalent wave of ’90s trends and pop culture nostalgia, we’re excited to celebrate like it’s 1999 with our newest historical duo Isabel and Nicki,” shares Jamie Cygielman, general manager of American Girl, in a press release. “From the start, The American Girls Collection has been central to our mission in helping build girls of strong character through inspiring stories and products that show them how the past is full of lessons that can be applied to the present. We know our fans will love getting to know more about the ’90s with Isabel and Nicki and discovering the girl power in all of our beloved heroines.”

American Girl tapped real-life twin sisters Julia DeVillers and Jennifer Roy to write the stories of Nicki and Isabel. The sisters co-authored each character’s illustrated journal, included with each doll, in addition to a full-length novel, Meet Isabel and Nicki, expected to be released this summer.

Add-on pieces include a bedroom set for both Nicki and Isabel with nods to past American Girl accessories, including a doll-sized plush of the popular Miss AG Bear that fans may remember from the '90s, a replica Grin Pin Banner with images of real ’90s AG Grin Pins and a mini version of American Girl magazine from 1999.

Other add-on sets include even more '90s-fueled items, like pretend CD and floppy disk drives, a desktop computer that illuminates and plays dial-up effects, an era-accurate Pizza Hut set complete with doll-sized personal pan pizzas and a 2-in-1 tennis court and skate spot.

The release is part of American Girl’s longtime commitment of honoring historical moments in American history, striving to have each and every child seen while building inner confidence and courage. Other impactful releases include the first South Asian Girl of the Year.

In keeping with its theme of toys driven by purpose, the launch will support Girls Who Code (GWC), a leading nonprofit that’s on a mission to close the gender gap in technology. A $25,000 donation will be made to cover student and alumni tickets to attend CodeFair, the organization’s 10th anniversary celebration that invites the public to play, discover and code using the latest technology. American Girl is also partnering with online platform Roblox to expand its storytelling avenues. Beginning March 1, families can interact with their favorite characters, including Isabel and Nicki, through immersive play.

In celebration of the release, American Girl will be hosting events launch weekend, including twin-inspired activities and treats like Isabel & Nicki’s Toaster Pastry Milkshake. American Girl’s YouTube and YouTube Kids channels will host exclusive content including an animated series, new music and product videos, with additional content expected throughout the year. American Girl’s Virtual Museum offers a glimpse into the twin’s bedroom as well as other fun activities, like a photo booth game.

Isabel and Nicki’s collection will be available beginning Feb. 22.

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