Black Panther is all about Female Empowerment so I am not surprised that a women were in charge of the production design and costume design. Getting to sit down and chat with Production Designer Hannah Beachler (who also worked on Beyonce’s Lemonade video) and Costume Designer Ruth E. Carter (Nominated twice for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design) was a real treat. Not only because they are obviously talented at their professions but also because they offered us a unique insight into the process of Black Panther (that you can check out below).

Here is what Production Designer Hannah Beachler and Costume Designer Ruth E. Carter had to say…

***There is a reason and a story behind everything you see on screen.

Production Design

***The production designer is usually on films after the director and they are hired by the director and the producers.

***Wakanda is on the continent of Africa, set in sort of eastern sub-Saharan Africa. You can kind of place it on the border of DRC, right above Burundi and Rwanda.

***She looked at a lot of older architecture.

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER
Production Designer Hannah Beachler on the South African research trip in World’s End, Three Rondavels, at Blyde Canyon
Photo Credit: Location Mgr. Ilt Jones

***“…a lot of the process for me was taking big spaces and making them feel intimate because that’s how the continent felt me to when I was there. When I was in South Africa, you look around and it’s these giant spaces even when you’re in the city, but there’s an intimacy and that comes from the culture and the people.” – Hannah Beachler

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER
L to R: Set Decorator Jay Hart and Production Designer Hannah Beachler on Korean casino set.
Photo Credit: Art Director Alex McCarroll

***Hannah had a manual that outlined everything with a map of Wakanda and its districts.

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER
Steptown Conceptual Set Design by Hannah Beachler’s Production Design Team
Illustration: Till Nowak

Fun fact: Hannah’s nickname years ago was “Chinchilla”

Costume Design

***She created boards with images and they called each district by their names.

***They looked at Afropunk and modern fashion. “…you can mix ancient indigenous tribal culture with modern. We don’t want to make a documentary. This is a futuristic place. This is a place that has the richest mineral known on earth, Vibranium and they’re aware of it. They’re aware of their richness.”

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER
L to R: Costume Designer Ruth Carter and Director Ryan Coogler on set with Winston Duke (M’Baku)
Ph: Matt Kennedy
©Marvel Studios 2018

***They upped the ante with the colors being used because that is what is being done in Africa…they weren’t reinventing anything.

***Ruth had shoppers in Africa, South Africa, Nigeria and South Korea.

***They decided that the “panther suit was going to be a newer technology, more streamline, more beautiful…and so, that translates into his everyday wardrobe.”- Ruth E. Carter

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER
T’Challa Conceptual Character and Costume Design Sketch
Costume Design: Ruth Carter
Concept Artist: Keith Christensen
©Marvel Studios 2018

That is why Ruth tried to pick things she felt would be body conscious so he wore more knits and sweaters, so that you see his arms.

***Based on Ryan Coogler’s trip to South Africa and his love of a blanket from the Lesotho Village, he wanted them used in the film. The design team silk screened each of the blankets to add the look of vibranium but the blankets were too heavy so they had to burn the blankets down to thin them out so they could be used.

Want to know more about Black Panther and its characters? Click on the links below to read my exclusive interviews with:

You should also check out the Black Panther Press Conference Highlights and Fun Facts from the Cast. Oh and my Black Panther Inspired Gift Guide for some really cool products you can collect, enjoy or give as gifts.

You are going to want to go and see Black Panther now that it is in theaters!

Want to know my thoughts on the movie? Click here to read my spoiler-free Black Panther Movie Review. Long Live The King!