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Overview of costume design. Copyright The Walt Disney Company.

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Video transcript

An important part of creating a character is deciding: what are they gonna wear. And that's the topic of this video, costumes. We create thousands and thousands of costumes from pirates to presidents to outfits for our furry friends. Costumes are worn by parade and theater performers, walk around characters, animatronic figures, and of course, our thousands of cast members. From attraction operators, to food service, to retail that work all around the parks. And like everything else we do, the costumes these characters wear have been carefully designed to authentically support the theme and story of the land. It takes a lot of work by lots of different people to create our costumes, and like so much of what we do at Imagineering, costume design is a collaborative process involving many specialists. You might be surprised by some of the considerations we take into account. Every time we build a land, we want it to be a believable and an immersive and authentic experience. And that comes down to clothing, as well. You know, what tells you about a character is also what they wear and how they use the things they wear and how they move in the things they wear is extremely important because it creates a sense of place. And it also creates a sense of time. Where does that character live? How does that character live? Is that character rich or poor? Is that character male or female? Does that character live in farm or city? And so you need to do a lot of research. We start out with a kind of inspiration board. What is the look that we're going for? So that the core creative team can come together, look through it and kind of decide what works and what doesn't. Believe it or not, you don't have to be the best artist in the world to be a great costume designer. Some do it through collage, pull together the fabrics that you want. You can put them on the silhouette of a body and convey the feeling of your design. And from there, our costume designer would go away and sketch. Do a very, very rough hand sketch of what that costume could look like. After that we'll move to a muslin, which is basically just a standard fabric mock-up of a design. Once we're happy with the style lines then we'll start to going into actual fabrics. Then we will start talking about color. We'll start talking about textures. We'll start talking about what kind of materials and fabrics we can bring in. When we did the Monsters attraction for Disney's California Adventure, we had to bring Sully from the film world into the real world. And when the most challenging thing there was his fur - so he has all his blue shaggy fur and how we were going to get the right color fur, the right length fur, and get those cool little purple spots on on him. That was that was a bit of a challenge. If we moved it around, we'd start getting all these weird twists and folds and creases in Sully's fur, which we didn't want. So our team developed a stretch fur so when he twists, it goes with him and that was really challenging to figure all that out. What looks good in the light? What looks good in a dark ride? Because you have to think about where they're going to be located as well. We always have to take whatever the research teaches us and then bump it up a notch, right. So even if you're the street urchin Aladdin, and you are very poor and you're wearing rags. Those rags have to have some bright colors. Those rags have to have lots of textures and different kinds of fabrics that the lighting theatrical lighting can pick up on. So even the simplest outfit is never simple. We have to make sure that it's comfortable for them to wear, that it's breathable. That they're going to be wearing this in all kinds of weather conditions. Anytime we have a costume that lights up or makes sound, they have to work with a full technical team and they have to take that into account in their costume design all those elements need to be hidden, but it still has to be a beautiful design. And the guests never know what went into that work. Design lives in everything, so to develop a designer's eye you have to realize there's not a thing that you are wearing, or that anyone else is wearing, that wasn't the vision of a designer. The things that utility workers wear, or people working in a kitchen wear, or you know police officers, or nurses, or doctors wear. Look at the details in the things around you. Because that can also inspire your design as well and your design sensibility. In the next exercise, you have a chance to imagine a costume you could wear to bring your own character idea to life. Halloween costumes are a great way to test your costume design skills. When creating your Halloween costume, be sure to design it to support the story and theme of your land. And have fun!