The costumes for Black Panther were inspired by the clothing worn by the Maasai people.
Because Wakanda is a fictional African nation, Black Panther ’s creative team, including Carter, chose clothing designs that reflected Wakandan ancestors, self- and community expression, and four words that Carter placed on her vision board: “Beautiful. Positive. Forward. Colorful.” The African fabric traditions that Carter used for inspiration included Zulu, Maasai, Himba, and Dinka. She also incorpo- rated elements of several contemporary African designers, including Ghanaian designer Ozwald Boateng, Ikiré Jones’s elaborate textiles, and MaXhosa by Laduma. Other inspirations include Afro-punk festivals and Congolese “Sapeurs,” a tradition of fashion-conscious twenty-first-century “dandies” who live in the Central African cities of Kinshasa and Brazzaville. Black Panther fashions have inspired a new interest in African clothing world- wide, including the United States. Traditional African clothing stores have been selling out of clothing from head wraps to dashikis . African American designers in many cities experienced increased sales of their clothing. “I think people are more comfortable wearing African clothing,” said James Onabanjo, co-owner of an African clothing store in Georgia. “More African Americans . . . are trying to show off their heritage.”
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