When is an FA not an FA?
A big transition occurred in 2002 when the boxes that had always distinguished the Fashion Avenue™ line from other playline Barbie® fashions were dropped. A new style of packaging was introduced that bridged the gap between a box and a traditional blister pack. The latter had already been used on exclusives for the foreign market that I have dubbed "Dress Cards" because of the shape (see 2001 and 2002). The new Fashion Avenue™ cards are "disguised" a bit, because they have an additional cardboard piece that forms a triangular base for the package when it stands upright.
In 2003, the same packaging was used for a line of fashions that no longer bore the Fashion Avenue™ name. However, the quality was consistent with previous releases. Category names were once again included on the packaging, after being replaced with icons in 2002.
Consider the three Ken fashions above. The 2003 card, without the Fashion Avenue™ name, is one of my all-time favorite Ken outfits. It has a working zipper and the fabric is high quality. I don't think it can be called inferior to the other two in any way but the lack of accessories, and personally I would rather have nothing than the chipboard cutouts you see in the 2002 box.
Now compare the three Barbie fashions above. I would argue most Barbie fashions from 2003 have one big advantage over earlier fashions: cloth purses! Again, this is something that adds quality.
I developed the original Fashion Avenue site with the help of Andrea, who supplied the photos from her collection. The site was built contemporaneously with the release of the fashions. When 2003 rolled around and the packaging no longer bore the Fashion Avenue™ name, I had reason to think the name might come back. After all, category names had been restored after only a brief absence.
As time went on, I maintained the site as a static reference because so many people expressed their appreciation for my work. I only came to re-examine its usefulness when I needed to let the domain name go. I didn't want to disappear without a word and eventually decided I could modernize the format and make the content easier to understand. It might have made sense to remove the "borderline" FAs completely, but instead I am giving them their own section and explaining my thought process. Feel free to ignore that section if you are an FA purist.