For years the Marvel and DC superheroes have had a predominantly white character base. New film Black Panther is not just your average superhero movie, and features a nearly all black cast, with the plot based around a black superhero.
Black Panther is set in the mythical country of Wakanda and tells the story of King T’Challa who returns home to the technologically developed African nation of Wakanda after the Civil War, to take his place as the country’s new leader. When two enemies try to take over King T’Challa’s reign and plot to destroy Wakanda, Black Panther teams up with the CIA and Wakandan special forces to prevent the land from being sucked into a war.
The film also has an all-female crew to play Black Panther’s (Chase Boseman’s) bodyguards, which represents black feminine strength.
Oscar nominated costume designer Ruth E. Carter has turned heads with her exquisite outfit designs that are worn by the cast of Black Panther. The mastermind has previously designed costumes for films such as Malcolm X, and Selma and Amistad, just to name a few.
In an interview with Collider Magazine, Carter spoke about how there was a mixture of futuristic and historical influences in her work, and how there are different tribes within Wakanda who originate from different places.
“So, there were pieces of all different points in Africa that were combined. And when you research those real places, like the Dogon or the Nigerian culture, you sometimes had a conflict of aesthetics. So, it was up to me to meld the two cultures together and make it one unique for our Wakanda and for our look for the costumes.”
Ruth recently said how herself and the crew wanted an Afro-Futuristic environment that was not colonized.
With the assistance of director Ryan Googler and Marvel, Carter drew inspiration from ancient African Tribal traditions and looked at things like Maasai beads, Nigerian embroidery and how the Suri tribe would decorate themselves with paint.
The combination of high fashion and African tribal influences resulted in sensational looks for the royal family of Wakanda including Princess Shuri – played by Letitia Wright and Queen Ramonda – played by Angela Bassett).
Fans of the Black Panther movie and fashionistas will be pleased to know that the film has inspired a runway show.
Seven ground-breaking designers created one-of-a-kind pieces for the show. Some of these included Chromat, Sophie Theallet, Laquan Smith, Ikiré Jones, and Cushnie et Ochs.
Designer Ikiré Jones told WWD Magazine “It’s an attempt to help uplift the voices of people who have been marginalized historically and in the present day, both in the U.S. and globally… It’s beautiful aesthetics, but it’s a subversive way to talk about the refugee crises, globalization, ethical waste, ethical labour, and labour practices.”
The pieces from the show represented different interpretations of the characters from the film. Following the event, all the outfit ensembles were auctioned off and all profits were donated to the charity, Save the Children.
The show was held yesterday during New York Fashion Week as ‘Welcome to Wakanda’.
Let us know what you thought of the show!
Text: Chloe Humphries
Images: Nerdist, Marvel, Melan Mag, Getty Images, Vulture, Metro, Walt Disney Studios, Entertainment Weekly, Hello! Magazine, WWD Magazine, Wear Your Voice Magazine