On Monday night, it went down during NYFW at Industria Studios as people flocked out to ‘Black Panther: Welcome to Wakanda’, a charity presentation featuring 10 designers who contributed pieces by inspired by the film. Sponsored by Redken and Lancome, the night featured pieces from brands such as Chromat, Cushnie et Ochs, LaQuan Smith, Ikiré Jones, Sophie Theallet, Brother Vellies, and TOME, all auctioned off to support Save the Children.
As the most-anticipated movie of the year—no doubtedly amongst audiences who are truly excited to see an all-Black cast—the night’s charity event proved that Black Panther isn’t just a film, it’s certainly a lifestyle.
Of course, leading men Michael B. Jordan and Chadwick Boseman were in attendance. They look so dapper!
For Chromat’s collection, the design encapsulated the strength of motherhood and women everywhere, the dress made of ankara fabric from Lagos. “When creating this Black Panther-inspired #Chromat look, the first thing that popped into my head was my muse: my mom,” said Chromat designer Tolu Aremu on Instagram.
“At Chromat, we design for strong, powerful, unapologetic women and empower women of all shapes, sizes, and colors. The Black Panther film introduces strong black superheroes and cultural diversity with Africa as its backdrop. In my eyes, my mother is the most powerful, selfless, unapologetically strong Nigerian #ChromatBabe I’ve ever known.” She concluded the inspiration of the look, saying, “From the colorful gele to the bold patterned Ankara, and down to the Chromat cage and silhouette, I wanted this look to embody her colorful and bold spirit.”
For designer LaQuan Smith, playing on the movie’s advanced technology and womanhood also proved to be a capsulating theme for his black sequined trench coat and matching jumpsuit. ““I wanted it to resonate with the idea of female empowerment, women that are strong,” he told New York Daily News. “I wanted to do something that was sexy and powerful and aggressive because there’s a lot of technology in the film.”
Additionally, Cushnie Et Ochs created a dazzling golden gown, sharing the pre-made sketches with excited onlookers via their Instagram.
Aurora James of Brother Vellies designed a pair of boots created with curled and straightened sisal from Haiti, alluding to conversations amongst women of color and the culture of hair acceptance.
Sophie Theallet’s collection rendered the beauty of traditional dress with beaded patchwork with a feathered high-waist band.
For Ikiré Jones, creative director Walé Oyéjidé focused on marrying and fusing cultures. “It’s very much about fusion and the marriage of cultures, respectfully showing that all of us no matter where we’re are inspired by the culture around us,” Jones told USA Today. “[The outfit is] rooted in an African aesthetic, but has European silhouettes, a silk scarf made in Italy, and represents both African and European culture. And it’s just kind of showing that we are better together.”
The amazing collections are only but a fraction of the power of Black Panther, though they all make a strong case on the power of fashion. As the masses came out to see the collections and communally bask in this momentous occasion during Black History Month, it leads us to wonder what will happen after Black Panther? Will the spirit of unity and legacy continue? Will there be a continued effort of proud nationalism and celebration amongst those of African heritage? Will media finally begin to reflect the power of Blackness and not subjugate the beginning of our history merely to the moments of slavery?
All we know is that Wakanda is lit, and Black Panther has shaken and broken the table.