Black Panther cast talks power of fashion in New York

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (FEBRUARY 12, 2018) (REUTERS) – Marvel Studios transported New York fashionistas on Monday (February 13) to the mythical African nation of Wakanda where its highly-anticipated Superhero movie “Black Panther” takes place.

The event, part of New York Fashion Week: the Shows, showcased work of designers who were inspired by the film’s characters and themes as part of “Welcome to Wakanda,” to celebrate the film’s spirited African flair.

While Wakanda is a fictional place, the film’s costume designer Ruth E. Carter drew from real people and places, traveling across Africa to study the patterns, beadwork and silhouettes of various tribes and peoples, fully aware that the film would be an introduction to Africa for many Superhero fans out there.

She said that the Black Panther-inspired event deserves its place at New York Fashion Week, one of the biggest fashion gatherings in the world.

“Because Afro-punk has lead the way in some respects, it is a political statement, of the world where we are right now. And why shouldn’t fashion make a political statement,” she told Reuters.

The predominantly black cast of the Marvel movie hopes its combination of African pride, beauty and kick-ass adventure will also mark a cultural shift in the movie industry and fashion.

“I fell in love with it and I fell in love with wearing dresses and stuff like African prints and stuff like that so all together it has been amazing,” said cast member Lititia Wright about the film’s costume, adding that it will influence a lot of young girls who will be watching the film.

The fashion show is the first of its kind for Disney, which owns Marvel. Although it has done high-end collaborations before, it’s the first time it has done a fashion event of this scale ahead of a Marvel movie.

“Black Panther” directed by Ryan Coogler arrives to stellar reviews after years of criticism about the under-representation of movies, actors and filmmakers of color in Hollywood.

Analysts expect it to rake in some $150 million at the North American box office on its opening weekend, and the filmmakers hope it will encourage studios to invest in more mainstream, racially diverse films.

Following Monday’s event, the designs showcased will be auctioned off in support of Save the Children, an international humanitarian organization.