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Interview: DisneyBound Explained by Leslie Kay

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What is DisneyBound? You’ve heard the term but you’re still not quite sure what it is. The simple definition is that DisneyBounding is finding a line where Disney and fashion collide.

Disney fans pick a character they want to portray and model an outfit using certain color pallets and accessories. It’s not as outlandish as cosplaying and subtle enough to be able to go out in public and look nice but still get nods of approval from Disney fans (see gallery below the interview).

The trend has become extremely popular in the parks the past couple of years and fans even make it a point to find the character their portraying and and snap a picture with them.

MikeSullyI have to admit, I’m far from an expert when it comes to the DisneyBound trend so I contacted the wonderful Leslie Kay who runs disneybound.tumblr.com in order to get a little more information about it.

Since I’m based in Los Angeles and Leslie is based in Toronto Canada, I set up the interview on Skype and transposed it to text below.

Over the past few years, I have interviewed celebrities like Pee Wee Herman, Tim Burton, the cast of The Simpsons and much much more for my other site, AngryWeb.net, but Leslie was so fun to talk to that I decided to also post the video interview with her permission since text doesn’t do her justice.

The video is rough since we are testing a new recording program. We are currently working on getting the video and audio fixed and will update with the cleaner version soon. You can check out the unedited version below the text.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I am from Toronto Canada and I run the blog DisneyBound. I went to school for marketing but fashion has always been a hobby of mine but I was never actually formally trained in it.

Going to school for marketing got me into social media, like tumblr and Pinterest, so that led me to create DisneyBound.

So what’s the story behind DisneyBounding in regards to the fashion influence and Disney influence?
DisneyBounding is a way for teenagers and adults to show their love and appreciation for Disney and play dress up without actually wearing a costume so it takes trendy clothes and bases the outfits after Disney characters.

The DisneyBound blog actually started as a travel site. My friend and I were going to Disney for a trip we had planned for a very long time and we wanted a place to channel our excitement.

I did one outfit and got a couple hundred followers and from there it just took off rapidly. Within a few days there were thousands of views and within weeks it was unbelievable.

In just a few words, how would you describe DisneyBounding to someone who has never heard of it?
A way of showing your love and appreciation of Disney through fashion.

Is DisneyBounding something that is typically done only at the parks or is it something people do weekly and even daily when they are out in public?
A lot of people try to make it a habit when they go to the park. I don’t get to go often but when I do go, I do DisneyBound.

Day to day I don’t DisneyBound as much as I’d like to because I’m literally rolling out of bed and going to work. But when I go to the mall and see something and think “oh that’s perfect for this character”, then I have to buy it and I start building the outfit from there.

Are outfits typically recognized by the general population or is it almost like a club where it’s intended for fans of Disney and other DisneyBounders to pick up on?
It’s definitely a thing that Disney fans understand. Disney fans are their own breed.

As far as other people who maybe aren’t the biggest fans they’ll recognize a Minnie Mouse but the biggest Disney fanatics are going to understand the more complicated outfits.

I think everyone can understand it, whether they want to participate in it is another question.

When you decide to portray a character, what are the steps you go through to complete an outfit?
The easiest for me is to not necessarily pick a character but go to the mall and look for something the characters would wear. I find it easier and much less frustrating.

So I’ll go to the mall and start looking through pieces and find something that inspires me and I’ll start building it from there.

Other people I know pick a character and go through the stress of trying to find all of the exact pieces to make it work.

Is this something that anyone can do with the clothes they own or does it require some shopping?
I think there is probably going to be some aspects of shopping but DisneyBound is mainly used for inspiration. If I’m showing a pair of pants that isn’t in your price range, I don’t mean that you need this pair of pants.

I always start off by looking in my closet first, then going to the mall to somewhere like “Forever 21″, which is super cheap, and I try and complete the outfit on a budget.

There is always some sort of accessory that you may need to buy but you can do it without breaking the bank.

Disney has a whole department full of professionals who choose color pallets for their animated films. Do those pallets influence the overall design of the outfit?
Picking colors is one of my favorite things. People will come to my apartment and mention how I’ve color coded everything. I always start to look at the color pallet first and foremost and try and figure out what shirts and pants and dress will go with what, but it’s all about the color pallet.

I get really bothered when I can’t find the right color pants or something. It gives me a panic attack [laughing].

What is your process for picking the right clothes for characters, like animals, who don’t typically wear clothes on screen?
Disney animals generally have stomach fur that’s a different color and sometimes their paws will be a different color, that’s where things like cardigans come into play. A shirt will match the color of the stomach fur and the cardigan will be the color of the rest of their body.

To try and avoid a completely solid color, I may find a different shade of pants that go with the entire color pallet and then generally the shoes will match the paws.

In my head I have a bit of a science to it but it revolves around whatever stomach color the animal has.

For instance with “Finding Nemo” characters, I try and find certain patterns but I try and not make it too orange.

Animals are usually the most difficult to do.

Since its inception, what have people done to evolve the trend?
I think it’s really cool when I see people go to the parks and they go full out on the DisneyBounding and they’ll search out a character, either their character or a character related to them, and have a full out photo shoot.

Also hearing about when people meet the characters and how the characters react. Disney encourages characters to look out for people who are DisneyBounding…they won’t say “DisneyBounding” but that kind of stuff is really cool to see.

What are some of the challenges you have found with certain characters?
Other than animals, which I find the most difficult, usually the characters that wear solid colors, like Peter Pan, or ones that wear hats or have different hair colors.

Fedoras aren’t really that “in” but when they were it was really convenient because you could use a fedora for any character that had a hat, but now I have to work around that because fedoras don’t work.

It’s also tough when people request a certain character like Peter Pan when I just did Peter Pan 2 weeks ago because you want to keep everybody happy but you don’t want to do Peter Pan every 2 weeks.

What are some popular male characters you recommend if guys want to start getting into DisneyBounding?
The coolest ones I’ve seen are always the classic characters like Donald Duck, Goofy, Mickey Mouse, those always look so good for guys because they’re simple and classically done.

I’ve seen girls insist on their boyfriends DisneyBounding and sometimes the guy just looks like he’s in pain [laughing].

The classics are always simple and fun and they always work out.

Who were your favorite characters to portray? Who were your least favorite?
My favorite character that I’ve ever done is now Donald Duck. I used to not like Donald Duck as a character and I found him obnoxious but then when I started to DisneyBound him I realized how much fun it was and how much fashion potential he has with his classic vintage nautical style. That’s really fun to work with.

Snow White is another favorite because color blocking works so easily with her. It’s so much easier to do so it’s not very stressful for me.

My least favorite characters are, again, animals. As much as I love Nemo, orange and black and white never work the way I want it to.

How should someone feel when they are DisneyBounding and what should they consider when portraying a character?
People get a little bit too worked up when it’s not working for them. People just need to relax and have fun with it.

When you’re trying to pick your outfit, look in your closet first then just have fun and work within your budget.

Are there characters outside the realm of Disney that you’re planning on portraying?
I try and keep it exclusively Disney because everytime I step outside the realm, I get a thousand messages saying “did you know that’s not Disney?”. So I try and keep it Disney.

I do do what I call “rule breakers”. Since it’s my blog, I haven’t really established rules but people have established rules for me.

I will occasionally break the rules like for all the month of October I do a Halloween rule breaker every day which is something kind of spookier that could work as a Halloween costume.

I also do Harry Potter days because normally Disney fans are also Harry Potter fans so the two go hand in hand. It usually doesn’t offend people, though sometimes it does.

But every so often, if I’m not feeling creative, I’ll give myself a break and do a non-Disney character because sometimes I get stuck in a rut since I’ve been doing it for 2 and a half years and I do the same characters over and over so sometimes it gets a bit frustrating.

Now that Disney owns Marvel and “Star Wars”, do you have any plans to use those characters?
“Star Wars” can be a bit frustrating because it’s always white or shades of white with black, or furry things.

I love doing Marvel but those aren’t as heavily requested. I have done Marvel days and “Star Wars” days.

It is more fun now that Disney owns them because they used to own some rights and that used to be my loophole and I would have to explain it every time and now I can just say “Disney owns them”.

Do you have any other advice for people who are looking to take their first step into DisneyBounding?
Look in your closet first and be yourself. If I post an outfit and you don’t think it will work for your body type, do what works for you.

Try not to get worked up and just have fun with it.

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