As we learned from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ hit animated film, “Encanto”, la familia es todo. Family is everything, and the colorful and cultural designs on the newest Encanto La Familia Madrigal collection evokes this beautiful message of family, connection, and togetherness. Emilio Martinez, merchandising manager for Disney Consumer Products, Games and Publishing (CPGP), has a knack for creating tangible Disney memories and played an integral role in bringing this collection to life.
As Emilio reflects on the “Encanto” film and his Latin heritage, the significance of family comes to mind. “The core foundation of family is fostered through the richness of heritage. Family connections help nurture values, identity, and a sense of belonging where differences are celebrated,” Emilio shares. The Family Madrigal is the embodiment of this.
The spirit of “Encanto” is about finding one’s purpose and honoring one’s gifts, and with 18 years of experience working at Disney, Emilio brings his passion for merchandising strategy to work with him every single day. He started his Disney journey in retail operations, and later transitioned into a career in merchandising, where he has been making magic for the last 13 years.
“I knew I had a passion for apparel. Given a pastime of mine is being a stylist, I was drawn to the impact of what apparel or a tangible item does to someone. From those moments, I knew merchandising is where I ultimately wanted to land,” Emilio shared.
As a merchandising manager, Emilio’s role is to ensure every fan is represented in the products he and his team creates. He leads his projects with a consumer-first approach, making sure every audience across various generations is considered when it comes to Disney’s apparel offerings. Additionally, Emilio collaborates closely with the creative and product design team to ensure the art, style and theme of Disney’s franchises come across authentically throughout each global clothing line and collection.
“We take a strategic approach to make sure we are catering to the tangible memory that evokes Disney for fans across the globe,” Emilio explained.
La Familia Madrigal: From Movie to Merchandise
Following the 2021 release of Disney’s “Encanto,” the first product collection that supported the film focused on the key characters and their individuality. Each character from the movie has a unique story and quality that relates to many different people and personalities. This 2023 collection continues to celebrate the film with a different artistic approach, celebrating the entire Madrigal family together in a way that hasn’t been done before with Disney merchandise.
“The art you’ll see in the collection is really inspired by the wonderful and vibrant colors of the film and the country of Colombia, including special iconography built into some of the patterns, like the tropical flowers and butterflies that are found in the beautiful country of Colombia,” Emilio shared.
Similar to Mirabel in the film, these new designs unite the Madrigal family as they celebrate togetherness. The collection includes a bit of everything for everyone, from adult and youth apparel to beautifully designed accessories, and even a Bruno-inspired cloak for those beloved pets who are a special part of the family.
“Part of the collection includes great home items that nod to what you would be able to find and buy in the country of Colombia,” added Emilio. “The product design team did a lot of research and spoke with cultural consultants to make sure the collection was authentic to the country, and that they were maintaining the cultural integrity of the characters.”
Some of Emilio’s favorite items from the collection include the intricately designed Casa Madrigal light-up figure, and the adult pullover hoodie that presents a charming family portrait of Mirabel, her siblings, and her cousins.
“On the back it says “la familia es todo” meaning “family is everything” in English. Something that we haven’t done as much is using Spanish editorial on product and I love that we’re using it in this collection,” said Emilio.
A Familiar Connection for all Disney Fans
Disney has a vast and diverse group of fans, and the company uses the power of storytelling to reflect the globe. Those fans have an emotional connection to Disney stories and when they see themselves, their cultures, and their families depicted in these stories and products, that creates a deeper, more personal connection. Yet something unique about Disney movies is the familiar connections sparked in all fans, not just from a cultural perspective.
“From Bruno being like the outsider of the family to Luisa who is strong in the exterior but the most sensitive in the interior. Then Mirabel, the protagonist of the story, who is trying to find herself within her robust family. She realizes that she is the glue that holds the family Madrigal together in the end,” Emilio shared as he reflected on the movie and how all fans, no matter what culture they belong to, can feel connected to the story of “Encanto.”
Emilio champions diverse and inclusive content and has experienced the importance of representation firsthand. He is of Mexican American descent, born and raised in southern California before moving to Orlando, Florida. He reflected on his work on Disney and Pixar’s film “Coco.”
“Being able to see a movie like ‘Coco’ and see a relationship between my own childhood in the Disney film is significant. I have a fond memory of being able to create merchandise for ‘Coco’, and now ‘Encanto’ is another film continuing that story of heritage. This is another movie that not only honors the Hispanic community, but also resonates across many other families and diverse cultures, because it simply celebrates family,” Emilio explained as he shared his hope that the new collection would bring endless joy to fans.
Items from the new Encanto La Familia Madrigal collection are now available to shop in stores and online at shopDisney.com.