One of the best things of Marvel’s Black Panther movie is its use of costumes and sets not just to create the fictional world of Wakanda, but also to tell stories about Wakanda’s history and culture in every single frame.
Just watching the movie, which opened to the second-biggest four-day box office in film history, is aesthetically appealing to anyone with African cultural ties or people who recognise the rich African art/history. From Yoruba tribal marks on the face to Congolese full body scarification, who better to translate the way of life in Wakanda than an objective African designer whose work is a metaphor to comment on triumphs and travails of people of colour whether they be African Americans or Africans.
Nigerian designer Walé Oyéjidé is the creative director of Ikiré Jones – a socially aware design company that marries West African aesthetics with artistic influences from different cultures across the globe. He designed some of the costumes the fictional characters wore in the movie. In this interview with OkayAfrica, he talks about the movie’s key costume design elements, their inspiration, and why they’re game-changers.