Marvel Studios Black Panther hit theaters yesterday and it has been madness.
Personally, my phone has not stopped going off with regards to this film. I have been receiving text messages and social media alerts from friends and moviegoers dressed in their best African garb and African inspired fashions. Many want their own Wakanda experience which is right in line with the intense enthusiasm surrounding this film. Earlier this week Marvel hosted their our Black Panther event, fitly entitle: “Welcome To Wakanda”. The event featured one of a kind looks, inspired by the film, from 10 designer brands. Ikiré Jones was amongst the brands who joined in on this special collaboration. Ikiré Jones designs are known for their passion for storytelling and using fashion to empower disparaged groups of people. I had the pleasure of talking with the creative director behind the brand, Walé Oyéjidé. Oyéjidé is not afraid to share his truth with passion and conviction, it’s no wonder why he was apart of this special project. Check out what Oyéjidé had to say about creating this look and his thoughts on the film below.
The Knockturnal: Tell us about your collaboration with Disney and Marvel’s Black Panther.
Walé Oyéjidé: I think it was a very natural marriage, given the work that we do with Ikiré Jones. We basically use fashion as a vehicle to uplift marginalized people and people who have not been placed in these spaces, generally, before. I think Marvel and the makers of Black Panther just thought it was a perfect match for what the film was about. So, we used this film, the story, and aesthetics through fashion to showcase the broadness of African descendants and the beauty it represents.
The Knockturnal: For this project, you had to design one specific look. It’s not like designing a whole collection. Please tell us about that.
Walé Oyéjidé: I think it’s very much in line with what we always do. In a way, it was not anything different or new, because we’re always about presenting strong, elegant and regal looks, not specifically for ‘people of color’, but inspired by ‘people of color’. Also inspired by West Africa aesthetics and infusing that with the contemporary global influences that we all have. So, we used strong, bold, beautiful prints and paired that with European silhouettes. Creating something that has a strong cultural heritage and balance, but also, something that can be beautiful on anybody who chooses to wear it.
The Knockturnal: This film is about a black superhero. Do you have a superhero piece that makes you fell strong and powerful?
Walé Oyéjidé: I mean, to be frank, everything the brand does has a very strong intention and focus to it. We have solid pieces but we’re not a brand you come to for basics. Everything we make is intended to make you feel secure, powerful and to step into any room and assert yourself, tastefully but strongly. Whether it be the scarves we make that are for anybody or the suits that we make, everything is making a statement, everything is about art and beauty and elegance, and has a very strong cultural focus to it.
The Knockturnal: What are your feelings on the Black Panther movie?
Walé Oyéjidé: It’s a gorgeous film. I think it’s great to see that scope of representation on the screen, for once, and hopefully, it smashes the door open so we just see more and more of that all the time.
The Knockturnal: How important is it, especially in this political climate, to have something like this out and to have that representation?
Walé Oyéjidé: I think it’s been needed. I specifically am no longer waiting for anybody to create a platform for me. I think at this point we’re making our own and we find that when we make our own that’s what people resonate to the most. It’s amazing, it’s a fantastic opportunity, but it’s just tapping into what’s already there and what’s already gonna be there. So, it’s almost like catch up or you’ll be left behind.
You can see an actually Ikiré Jones piece featured in the film wore by King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman). Marvel Studios Black Panther is now in Theaters.
This event was sponsored by Lexus, Lancôme and benefitted Save The Children.
Photo Credit @withlovetammyb