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CLOTHING IN WAKANDA

How Black Panther's costume designers drew inpiration from all over Africa

T'CHALLA'S NECKLACEThis silver necklace is made of vibranium, but it was inspired by the jewelry made from the claws and teeth of predators. T'Challa is "crowned" with a claw necklace when he wins the challenge and becomes the King of Wakanda.

NAKIA'S OUTFITNakia's daily wear, as well as her ball gown in the casino scene, are based on Kente cloth. Kente, known as nwentoma in Akan, is an indigenous Ghanaian textile, made of interwoven cloth strips of silk and cotton. Kente is made in Akan lands, in Ghana, from the historic Ashanti Kingdom.

W'KABI'S NECK BLANKETThese blankets are called the Besotho blankets; they originated from the Lesotho people and are worn around the neck. The designs found on the blankets are inspired from the Sesotho tribe.

N'JADAKA'S MILITARY FATIGUESThese military-issued camouflage pants are a constant reminder of Killmonger's past. It shows the connection between his character and his past as a soldier and mercenary.

QUEEN RAMONDA'S HEADDRESSThis is aZulu headdress, reminiscent of the reed Zulu flared hats, called "Isicholos." These Zulu headdresses are traditionally worn by married women for ceremonial celebrations.

OKOYE'S UNIFORMThe uniforms of the Dora Milaje are heavily ornamented. The red color is meant to instill strength. The beadwork and necklaces are inspired by the neck rings and jewelry of Ndebele tribe. In the Ndebele tribe, these neck rings are an indicator of status and honor within the society.

SHURI'S HIGH-TECH OUTFITSShuri represents the future of Wakanda, even in her clothes! The designer used "recycled materials to also incorporate a forward-thinking sustainability factor and created a theme of structured neoprene, mesh materials, and lab-friendly whites."

ZURI'S ROBESZuri is a shaman in Wakanda. He wears ornate flowing robes known as an Agbada. It's one of the names for a flowing wide-sleeved robe worn by men/women in much of West Africa, and North Africa.

Which costume is your favorite? Why do you like it?How did incorporating elements from different cultures all around Africa contribute to the "feel" of Wakanda?How does each character's costume reflect their personality and character development throughout the film?Check out this article. Read it carefully, and then get ready for a quiz!

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People were drawing inspiration from Black Panther's costumes before the film was released

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1st paragraph:Since the first teaser trailer was released last June, people have been raving about, and drawing inspiration from, the costumes in the movie’s world of Wakanda. “What are you wearing to the Black Panther premiere?” became a prominent topic of discussion across social media.

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Ruth Carter was able to leverage American viewers' familiarity with Afican styles while she was designing the costumes.

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4th paragraph:“We didn’t really have … a visual model of people living in Wakanda,” she told me. “So it was kind of a fantasy or an imagined place for me. It was very intimidating. Creating a world is no joke.”

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Ruth Carter is the only contemporary designer who draws on traditional African cultural clothing.

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6th paragraph:African fashion has always been cosmopolitan, and Carter was careful not to depict it as frozen in the past. Contemporary designers across the continent are remixing tradition, creating innovative silhouettes and combining prints and textures. Carter and her team collaborated with several vanguard fashion houses to reflect the range of tailoring and textile production that animates the current African fashion scene.

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Ruth Carter worked alone while she was designing the costumes for Black Panther

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7th paragraph:A team of more than 30 designers and buyers (six times the size of the modest team Carter helmed for Selma) scoured the globe—from New York to Nairobi to Mumbai—to find robes, headdresses, and intricate jewelry to deliver on Carter’s ambitious vision.

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Ruth Carter wants Black Panther to be recognized as an important contribution to Afrofuturism.

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Last paragraph:As the word Afrofuturism further enters the mainstream, there’s a risk of its meaning being diluted—as it gets casually applied to any black-centric work with the slightest hint of sci-fi or magical realism, without a sense of the term’s socially-conscious context.

Choose one character from Black Panther. Write three paragraphs that explain how their costume in the movie contributes to their character development. Be sure to answer these quesitons in your composition:1. What different costumes does the charcter wear throughout the film? Describe the costumes in detail.2. How does the character change and grow with their costumes throughout the film?3. What cultural or traditional elements can you find in the costumes? Why are these signifcant?

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