The purple carpet premiere of Marvel’s first-of-its kind superhero flick, Black Panther, was a dazzling celebration of African design and heritage. Stars more-than adhered to the carpet’s ‘Royal attire’ dress code, arriving in regal African-inspired looks. Most of the VIPs stunned in outfits by European and American designers like Atelier Versace, Christian Siriano and Dolce & Gabbana – but which celebs actually wore African designers to the ‘African royalty’ themed premiere?
Director Ryan Coogler
The film’s director, Ryan Coogler, sported an outfit that mixed Western silhouettes with African motifs in a black Ikiré Jones suit and patterned scarf.
Ikiré Jones, a Philly-based luxury menswear line, aims to create designs that marry West African culture with classical art. Founded by the Nigerian-born lawyer-turned-designer Walé Oyéjidé, Ikiré Jones describes itself as a socially aware company that “use[es] design as a vehicle to tell stories that illuminate the nuanced lives of marginalized people.”
According to their website, at the beginning of 2018 the fashion line started donating a portion of all its proceeds to charity.
Actress Sope Aluko
Nigerian-born actress Sope Aluko wore a green laser cut gown by Nigerian haute couture fashion designer Deola Sagoe.
By utilizing African fabrics, hand-woven materials and nearly-extinct traditional African techniques, Deola Sagoe has acquired international acclaim. For over twenty-five years Sagoe has remained a major player in an industry that historically under-represents black designers. Her designs are frequently showcased at New York Fashion Week and runways worldwide.
Actress Connie Chiume
South African actress Connie Chiume wore a blue and white gown with a red head wrap by South African design studio Antherline.
Antherline Design Studio was founded by Matome Seshoka, who hails from South Africa’s Limpopo provoince. Seshoka is known for his formalwear, which puts a modern twist on traditional African fashions by using bold patterns, vibrant colors, and unique silhouettes.
Actors John Kani and Atandwa Kani
Father-son duo John Kani (left) and Atandwa Kani (right) proudly represented their Xhosa heritage in MaXhosa by Laduma shawls.
Laduma Ngxokolo is a South African luxury knitwear designer of Xhosa descent. Like all young Xhosa men, Ngxokolo underwent the amakrwala ceremony – a ritual that requires boys becoming men to wear formal attire for six months. The inspiration for his brand came from a desire to find design solutions for this rite-of-passage ceremony.
Teenage Xhosa men must also undergo a ritualistic circumcision, but many fall ill or die from the procedure. A socially conscious brand, Ngxokolo went beyond his fashion roots to try and find a solution. He combined modern medicine and custom to create a toolkit that Xhosa healers would find “acceptable” to use by putting products like hand sanitizer, antiseptic ointments and bandages in a satchel reminiscent of ones Xhosa healers have carried for centuries.