Once upon a time there was a dad who decided to create real-life costumes of his kids’ favourite Disney animated characters – a range that would fly off the shelves: Belle from Beauty And The Beast, Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, the entire cast of Aladdin . . .
A year and a half ago Nephi Garcia, a 32-year-old father from Florida in the US, decided to make a Fairy Godmother costume for his little daughter, Lili, for her to wear on a visit to Disney World near Orlando. The resort is only about 10 minutes from their home.
“Everybody was complimenting her and was asking, ‘Oh my God, does she have an Instagram account?’” Nephi recalls.
Back at home he uploaded photos of their trip to his Instagram account under the name Designer Daddy – and by the next day he’d already received orders for similar costumes of other popular cartoon characters from the Disney kingdom.
This got Nephi thinking and in 2015 alone he and his family visited Disney World 128 times.
For each visit he made a new set of outfits – for Lili (now 6), his sons, Eddy (2) and Leo (1), and his wife, Bethanie (27).
A photo posted by Designer Daddy (@designerdaddy_) on
Nephi used to be a fashion designer whose creations were featured at glamorous fashion shows, but after he became a dad he gave it up to be able to spend more time with his family.
After Lili was born he ran an outsize clothing shop, but his Disney outfits have been selling so well that he’s resigned from this job. He charges from $500 (more than R7 400) for kids’ costumes to $17 800 (more than R26 700) for adult outfits.
His online shop (littlebrightdress.com) is currently out of stock; you have to place an order stating what you’d like, but you’d have to wait – his order book is full for the next year.
It takes Nephi, who has more than 100 000 followers on Instagram, between 12 and 40 hours to produce one costume.
Little Lili is still his inspiration. She loved her “transformation dresses”, such as the blue-and-white dress Belle wears in Beauty And The Beast and which can change into a yellow ball gown.
“Now she wants all kinds of double-door costumes,” Nephi says, laughing – such as a frog suit that can change into Tiana’s ball gown in the movie The Princess And The Frog, and a Nemo costume with Dory from Finding Nemo.
And what did this fable teach him? “Don’t worry about money or what people think, I’m proof that you can make your dreams happen and enjoy every second.”
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Sources: Instagram, telegraph.co.uk, dailymail.co.uk, huffingtonpost.com, littlebrightdress.com