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Black Panther Costume Designer Talks Inspiration Behind Wakandan Outfits

The teaser trailer for Black Panther featured some seriously gorgeous costumes, brightly colored and intricately decorated. They're certainly a marvel to look at, but how did the Wakandan outfits come to be? Black Panther costume designer Ruth Carter sat down with Elle for an interview in which she revealed the inspiration behind the 

Carter explained that she sought inspiration from the entire continent of Africa and all its unique citizens to craft the perfect threads for the people of Wakanda, the fictional country at the heart of Black Panther. "I'm looking at the whole continent and a wide range of people, like the Masai and the Suri. It all becomes a part of the framework of Wakanda," she said. "Most people who read the [Black Panther] comic books know Wakanda is a mountainous area; it's a secret place that's not necessarily trading and interacting with the rest of the world. They're a little bit more advanced in technology than other civilizations. We are creating that world, and trying to create a culture and pride that feels authentic to the specific location."

When asked if she feels "an extra weight of responsibility" because Hollywood and pop culture so often forgets that Africa is a diverse continent, Carter admitted that she does. "I feel it... with Black Panther. That authenticity is very important to me. With Wakanda, I'm sort of piecing together a puzzle. It's the puzzle that is our history," Carter explained. "Black history didn't start with slavery or end with the civil-rights movement. I'm trying to put together that puzzle while considering everything that relates to us, including present stuff like the Black Lives Matter campaign."

Black Panther follows Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa, better known as Black Panther, as he rises to power in the technologically advanced African kingdom of Wakanda. As he struggles to find equilibrium between his responsibilities as king and as the super-strong Black Panther, T'Challa is then pushed to his ultimate limits in trying to guard his land from enemies. Things get even more complicated when an old opponent resurfaces, and T'Challa is forced into a raging war that jeopardizes the fate and well-being of his people, the kingdom of Wakanda, and the whole world. 

Joining Boseman as the titular hero are Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaude, Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, as well as Sterling K. Brown, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuya, and Danai Gurira. 

Fans can see the breathtaking costumes featured in Black Panther when the film is released on February 16, 2018. Until then, take a look at the dark history of Black Panther