These specialty outfits offered us the freedom to pose our Cabbage Patch Kids. What a cool concept!
These outfits came out in 1985. They were designed to help you pose your doll and were intended to be worn underneath other outfits. There were six different colours available (I think).
The boxes say that they were made by factories in China (P), Korea (IJ), Haiti, and Mexico. As far as I know, this is the only CPK item produced in Haiti.
Photos courtesy of Marta Aleman Perez.
Actionwear ONLY came packaged. I’ve seen zero evidence that they were ever put on boxed kids. This makes sense; they were never intended to be the only outfit on a doll.
They originally came in packaging designed specifically for them (1). Then they started showing up in packaging designed for the Occupation Rompers (2). Eventually, they were part of the ‘overflowing inventory’ that they had to get rid of, and they started coming out in basic cardboard packaging (3-5).
12345Picture 2 courtesy of Tamars Treasures
One minor problem . . .
For anyone who has handled Actionwear outfits, you know that it isn’t uncommon for the outfit to be sans the wires. The wires tend to burst out of the outfit, like an underwire bra! However, some may have been sold WITHOUT the wire. The following was noted in 1987:
“A liquidation firm sold off a large number of outfits on boards that did not have the wire in them. They were not labelled as “Action Wear” but sure looked like them! The tag says Mexico!’
The consistency with which the doll tag and the outfit tag factories matched changed starting in 1985. Many continued to match, but not all. Here are the ‘situations’ in which you might find a match that doesn’t match!
From 1986 to 1988 (ish), the most common situation resulted from an overabundance of specialty outfits that were not selling (high $) and a lot of pieces coming from foreign factories that had shut down. In this situation, you might get an OK kid, in a P factory twin outfit, in a single kid box. (Ref. #5, Issue 4, p. 5) Or maybe, a set of P dolls, in IJ animal costume sleepers (Ref #3, p.104), in a twin box. Or even a pair of Jesmar dolls, in PMI World Traveler outfits, in a twin box!
Some of these outfits were made by factories that did not produce kids, only packaged outfits that were never intended to be sold on kids.
A similar situation happened with outfits originally designed for specific kinds of kids. For example, occasionally you will find Cornsilk and Talker outfits on regular kids from 1987 onward. This doesn’t occur as often as situation one, but it does happen. This situation could also be the result of in-store outfit switching.
Regular Kid in Cornsilk dressRegular kid in Talker’s dress
IC kids were made in Taiwan and, according to their side tags, which are numbered IC to IC7, there may have been at least eight factories. However, there are NO clothes with IC# on them. However, several Taiwanese factories did produce clothing: AX, CY, FD, HP, WW, HRS.
I have evidence that IC kids came wearing IC, AX, and other Taiwan factory clothing. The same has been discovered about the UT factory. Although UT kids could come with UT clothes, they also came dressed in AX and WW clothing. (Jump to: AX and the UT Kids)
In addition, IC kids came wearing specialty line outfits that were made at other Taiwanese factories (HRS, CY, FD), so their tags would not match. For example, Western Wear and All Star kids. (Ref #5, Issue 3, p. 5)
Top: CY Western Wear outfit and AX outfit, Bottom: CY All Stars Outfit
Hong Kong Tags. Some Hong Kong Kids had no factory indicated on their tag. In this case, for MIB kids, it can be assumed that if the kid is OK, the outfit is OK. However, if the outfit is not original to the kid, it is either P, OK or KT. (Ref#3, p. 28) My personal experience with HK outfits leads me to believe they will be either OK or P, as the tags themselves more closely resemble OK and P tags, rather than KT tags.
Twin outfits are all P factory. However, some were put on OK kids. In this case, the tags would not match.
There is evidence that ‘Made in USA’ outfits did come on boxed kids. There are no ‘Made in USA’ kids, so the tag cannot match in this situation.
It appears that some SS factory outfits came on MIB regular-sized kids. As the SS factory did not make any regular-sized dolls, there will be a mismatch between the kid and the outfit. I’ve confirmed this on one OK factory HK doll.
Not all clothing tags were made equal. Some have codes, some don’t. Which do? Which don’t?
Although MOST Coleco clothing has a code on the tag, not all of them do.
The 1983 outfits have a variety of tags! Each factory had a slightly different look to its tags and some factories changed the look often. After 1985 the tags become more consistent in look and information but there were still variations by factory and over time.
Examples of tags from various factories.
In a previous post, What are Clothing Tag Codes, I noted that some factory codes were put on with stickers so that they were washed off (P, PMI, some IC), some were written on and illegible, and some were stamped on badly. Although these tags are rather rare, they can be annoying. Hopefully, somewhere, you will find the same outfit with a code!
Unfortunately, in some cases, they never put the code on to start with!
The 1983-84 Mess
Some factories like CC, KT, IJ, and PMI always have a code on the tag (if it hasn’t washed off).
Some factories, like the OK and P factories, were generally pretty good with putting codes on their tags, but there are some failures.
For example, early P and OK Hong Kong tagged outfits were hit and miss, and some of the later regular tags did not have codes (pictures below).
OK Side 1OK Side 2P Side 1P Side 2 – sticker goneEarly P factory with stickerEarly P factory – back
Some Taiwanese factories, like IC and AX, put the codes on a few tags.
Some never put a code on their tags. (e.g. UT, HP, EX, SW, CY, FD, WW, USA)
I have also seen tags where they appear to be trying to fix a mistake, or they had run out of a tag. They’ll substitute a different one and then make the correction with a pen or a marker!