Nephi Garcia, AKA Designer Daddy on Instagram, makes Disney-inspired garments for women and girls.
Garcia’s dresses are whimsical and unmatched in their functionality — that’s because his dresses transform before your eyes.
Garcia started dressmaking in the Phillippines when he was 11, although he would later move to the U.S. and leave the hobby behind. It wasn’t until his wedding day when the father of four made his wife’s bridal gown that he started to get back into it. Years later, when he took his 4-year-old daughter to Disneyland, Garcia created a fairy godmother dress from “Cinderella” for her.
Eventually, Garcia left his career in the fashion industry because it didn’t suit his values. Following another job loss, he and his family came close to homelessness. That’s when his hobby became his full-time job.
“My wife told me, ‘We have literally nothing to lose. Why not do it now?’” Garcia told the L.A. Times. “This literally saved us from where we were at.”
Garcia and his daughter began to showcase his designs on social media and at Disneyland. Designer Daddy garments exploded and eventually he was creating Disney gowns and costumes from his very own Anaheim studio. These days the whole family models his creations. From “Sonic the Hedgehog” to “Toy Story 4” characters, Designer Daddy makes it all.
He teaches classes, commissions custom garments and sells his dress patterns at Designer Daddy Studio. Although he would like to make film costumes someday, Garcia loves what he does because it makes feeling like a princess accessible.
“Doing films would be a big step up for me, but I would never want to give up my clients,” he told the L.A. Times. “I know it’s hard for them to get a custom-made princess ball gowns and them feeling like a princess unless they have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for it. I want them to get in touch with their inner princesses.”
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