Oscar-nominated costume designer Ruth Carter and a team of designers, including Atlanta-based tailor Carl Ulysses, created the costumes for Wakandans, citizens of the fictional nation in Marvel’s “Black Panther.” Carter’s designs are representative of traditional African clothing, including pieces inspired by Zulu tribes, Nigerian traditions, and Maasai jewelry. Because of the film’s extensive budget, Ulysses was able to use any materials necessary to bring to life the costumes he envisioned for the characters.
Class discussion: What was the production budget for “Black Panther?” How does the large budget influence the way “Black Panther” was able to become a notable film in its representation of African cultures? Look up the traditional clothing of some of the African tribes that inspired the film’s costumes, like the Zulu and Maasai. Can you identify the inspiration for any specific costume pieces in “Black Panther?” How do the casting choices reflect the mission of “Black Panther” as a representative film? Check out some of Ruth Carter’s other work on films like “Selma” and “Malcom X.” What similarities can you identify about her design choices in each of these films? What stands out to you?