Marvel movie costumes have South African inspiration

Award-winning costume
designer Ruth E. Carter is the woman behind the costumes and artefacts wowing audiences inBlack Panther, the Marvel film.

Visuals and trailers of the film have teased us enough, with specific focus on the
attention to detail found in the African aesthetic of the
costumes.

Carter said: "I just wanted to be very careful about how I represented the continent and the culture to make sure that I did not follow any of those rude stereotypes about what Africa was and what Africa wasn't.

"People think Africa is one big place, but in each part of the continent you have a whole new aesthetic, a whole new way of living, at the same time it is a very modern and progressive place in some parts."

This is how the Kingdom of Wakanda in Black Panther has been represented, being the most technologically advanced nation.

Carter was recently in Johannesburg and Cape Town where she explored the South African inspiration found in the Black Panther costumes. "Being in South Africa really did connect me with all the inspiration that we used with Black Panther and it just kind of rooted a lot of feelings that I knew. It gave me a contextual environment to draw from."

Influences such as the Basotho blankets from Lesotho, Kenya's Maasai tribe and the traditional Zulu bridal hat for the Queen Mother (Angela Bassett), to name just a few, were researched and bought from each country.

"I went to the sources. I had shoppers in South Africa, West Africa, Ethiopia ... we put the money back into the hands of the people," she said.

She also read books such as Before They Pass Away for
research and inspiration.

Carter has designed for films such as Malcolm X and Amistad, and believes in the powerful representation of black people and women through costume.

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