The Wakanda Dress Code

The Wakanda Dress Code

When looking back on Ryan Coogler’s epic marvel blockbuster, Black Panther, you can’t help immersing yourself in the details of the characters and scenes that were really brought to life. The perfect combination of vibrant colours and traditional African designs mixed with just enough futuristic details that it didn’t feel too sci-fi. The mastermind behind the Afrofuturist designs of Wakandan fashion and over 1000 other costumes throughout the whole film is Ruth Carter. In her own words, she said “I really wanted this movie” so she took it and ran with it. Envisioning the style of a futuristic African city untouched by colonisers and inhabited by a mix of thriving tribes. Carter has huge amounts of experience bringing culturally significant films to life having previously worked on Malcom X in 1992 and more recently in 2014’s Selma. In her search for inspiration, Carter traveled up and down Africa looking for traditional African jewellery and fabrics, which she combined with her own superhero like twist.

Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger

It didn’t end in Wakanda for Carter, she had to wrap her head around designing the look of Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger, who had initially been written up as an anthropologist. I don’t know about you guys but when I think anthropologist, I see someone like Indiana Jones, the complete opposite of that distinctive look during the museum scene. Carter and director Ryan Coogler both agreed that he needed an updated, modern look that represented urban lifestyle and cultural awareness. The result was that unapologetic look, pairing a denim shearling jacket with drop crotch trousers and military boots, to top it all off he was given grills and glasses.

I saw that look and immediately thought it was pretty damn cool and would be a great street style outfit. So I set out to find pieces to build that look. The denim jacket style is definitely in vogue right now and there was no shortage of options to choose from. Eventually I found a close match with this Levi’s Denim Sherpa Trucker jacket. Next these black cargo trousers from Bershka are missing the drop crotch but give you that loose fitting military look. On our feet I went for the classic 6 inch Timberlands in a dark olive colour. To top off the look you just need a basic longline white tee, tinted gold framed glasses and wooden beaded necklace.

Isaach De Bankolé as River Tribe Elder

Although Isaach De Bankolé's character, The River Tribe Elder, doesn’t have a big part in the film itself, he sure does manage to leave a big impression with his unforgettable green suit and traditional lip plate which is still a part of many tribal cultures all throughout Africa. The colours were chosen to represent the connection to the River Tribe in Wakanda, so Carter combined the bold teal suit jacket with a deep green shirt and produced this high fashion update of African tradition.

This look is definitely for those looking to make a statement and you will have to put in a bit of effort to find the right colours and fits. There are few retailers on the high street offering green and teal suits, however they are not in abundance. I was able to find a couple options for the suit, the first being this Wool Blend Teal Suit from Next and my favourite because of the floral interior of the jacket. If you like a tighter fit, Topman have got an Ultra Skinny Teal Suit. Trying to find a green shirt with same depth to it as the statesman’s proved to be very difficult and in the end if you can pull off this suit, you can probably pull off anything. A few tips would be to keep to light coloured shirts and don’t be afraid of patterns like floral or paisley.

There are so many great outfits throughout the whole film that we could make this a never ending post. That's probably why some are hailing Black Panther as the most stylish superhero film to date. Check out some of the other outfits worth mentioning below.

Letitia Wright as Shuri

Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia and Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa