Disneybounding and cosplay run along the same lines when it comes to original design. Arguably, Disneybounding itself is cosplay-lite. They both have two very simple, but extremely important, characteristics that make the design successful or not: Iconography and Color Identity. Let’s look at just the Disney Princesses as those are so often cosplayed and Disneybounded. Each princess has her own color scheme, and in cases like Snow White and Elsa, a defining iconic item/ look associated, the apple for Snow White and the braid for Elsa. Without either, both tend to look incomplete, or not quite as ‘cute’ as they could be.
So what happens when you strip all that identity away from the princesses? They cease to be who they were and become just generic princesses in fancy dresses. Here’s a perfect case of that from Disney’s Golden Christmas. You have to look hard to see which princess is which, instead of knowing immediately from just the color she is wearing.
So how do we pick out our color identity for a character? Below is a perfect example for one of the easiest princesses to recognizably Disneybound: Snow White. How you do this is a matter of proportions and location of colors. Take Snow White’s dress, it has a blue bodice, yellow skirt, and red accents. The key parts to start are the blue and yellow – so stick on a blue top and a yellow bottom and you’re good to go right? Nope. It’s all about the details now, because Snow has red accents, you need to find ways to incorporate those. Typically you can do so with: belts, scarves, cardigans, shoes, jewelry, or even an apple purse as show. Bonus points on the apple purse, because that apple is iconic for Snow White to begin with.
How does this work for cosplay though? Much the same! But here, instead of street clothes, you’re looking for a cohesive design, and there are about 1,001 different ways to make one. These below artists have all done something very specific to create a cohesive design, they chose a time period and a style to work in. Hannah Alexander creates Art Nuveau designs, Amit Grewel makes Indian inspired designs, Wickfield makes historically accurate designs, Hayden Williamson does high fashion, and Enesco for Disney chose Art Deco. As you can see, each and every one of them stuck to the color proportions of the original dress, and many added the red cape that Snow White wears in much of the movie.
The sky is really the limit when it comes to original designs, but the key is staying true to the character WHILE expressing yourself. You’ve got this!