The Craftsman Collective features a curated selection of artists who span the vast possibilities of artistic expression. To showcase some of these artists pushing boundaries and crafting magical moments, we created the Artist Spotlight series.
This spotlight features Nephi Garcia (otherwise known as Designer Daddy), a costume designer who takes dress-up to a whole new level. Designer Daddy began as a passion project based on Nephi’s love of creating costumes for his kids. In the project’s early days, Nephi wasn’t sure he could keep focusing on it, as he had a growing family to support.
Luckily for him (and all of us!), Nephi saw a massive response to a literally transformative garment that he made for his daughter a few years ago. It took us on the fairytale journey of Beauty and the Beast by starting as Belle’s plain blue dress and changing into her golden gown. It was whimsical, magical, and elegant—the hallmarks of his designs. This garment turned his passion project into a full-blown artistic career.
We first got a chance to work with Nephi in 2017 on the film The Greatest Showman. He was one of several artists we collaborated with to bring the film to life on Instagram through wearable art, creating gorgeous dresses for his wife and daughter to wear while they soared on an aerial rope. That full campaign resulted in over 1.8 million impressions in less than two weeks, with an engagement rate of over 5 percent.
Recently, we’ve worked with Nephi on several other major motion picture promotions, including creating fun Halloween costumes inspired by a beloved classic. No matter how busy Nephi is, he throws himself into his work, creating awe-inspiring costumes that both draw the viewer into the worlds of the films as well as truly make his family happy. That incredible combination pays off in the high level of engagement he sees with his audience.
With recent projects ranging from Frozen II to Maleficent to The Lion King, Nephi is making his dreams come true. Find out more in our Q&A.
Nephi, what drew you to creating costumes? How does it allow you to best tell a story?
I love creating costumes more than regular fashion because it allows me to create openly and doesn’t limit me to trends. I can express myself and tell a story through the details and embellishments I add on a piece, the colors I use, and even the time period’s style of stitching and fabrics I choose. A costume can take you back in time and make you feel like you entered another world!
Tell us about your last magical experience.
My last magical experience was when I saw Frozen II. I was planning how to make a costume inspired by the movie, and it gave me so much inspiration and emotional connection! I teared up watching the film and I even got emotional designing the costume.
What work are you most proud of?
One of my pieces that I’m most proud of is a dress I designed for my daughter for the Maleficent movie premiere. We had only two days to prepare, but we pulled it off. The paparazzi just went crazy for her! I had to step back and watch her glow and walk the red carpet. It was just a proud daddy moment, you know.
Out of your work to promote films, what’s your favorite?
Definitely Maleficent! It was a fun day event. I got my nails painted black to match my daughter’s outfit, and I also got to wear smoky black eyeshadow. You don’t get to do that every day!
What theme do you see repeatedly come up in your work?
I see a lot of time period pieces, even on the regular princess dresses. I get to make a lot of corsets and I love it!
Where do you find inspiration for your art?
Music! Definitely music! I do watch a lot of time period films as well, but I mainly listen to music.
What’s your creative process?
A lot of designers start with a sketch, but I actually start by looking at fabrics to see how they hang, how they sway. I let them speak to me. I try to listen to what they want to become. I keep a theme in mind too. Let’s say I need to make a Cinderella-inspired dress—I’ll look at the colors I need and pick the fabrics in that color story that drape beautifully.
Where can we see more of your work?
Most of my work is posted on my Instagram account (@designerdaddy_). And at the moment, we’re launching mass-produced dresses for kids! You can find those at www.designerdaddyproducts.com. Our goal is to make the magic of Designer Daddy more affordable to more people.
Thank you for your time, Nephi. It’s been fantastic to get to know more about you and your craft. We look forward to working with you again!
Thank you so much!
If you’d like to learn more about The Craftsman Collective, please reach out to us. Want to learn about another creator who brings children’s characters to life in a fascinating way? Check out our spotlight with Laleh Mohmedi, the artist behind Jacob’s Food Diaries. And to see what else we’re up to, connect with us on Instagram.