The fanfare around Marvel’s “Black Panther” is resounding, with its Feb. 16 release yielding anticipation both domestically and abroad. Aside from celebrating a leading roster of black actors — which many have pointed out is seldom seen in mainstream film — the unique dress of diverse tribes in the movie’s African nation of Wakanda have brought on much conversation and inspiration surrounding the wardrobe.
Cast members including Chadwick Boseman and Angela Bassett introduced the royal style of Wakanda at the Los Angeles global premiere last month, in which gold sandals were a theme on the red carpet. But the trendsetting impact of “Black Panther” has extended well beyond the cast, as numerous shoe brands have jumped on the bandwagon to implement branded collaborations.
Puma x Bait
Considering a cat serves as its logo, Puma may have been an obvious match for creating shoes inspired by the movie. The brand partnered with West-coast retailer Bait to rework its Tsugi Blaze of Glory and Mostro Mid in a limited run of sneakers (only 300 and 100 pairs, respectively). Naturally, both sneakers were offered in monochromatic black, while co-branded insoles gave a nod to both Marvel and “Black Panther.”
New Balance x Jimmy Jazz
New Balance celebrated the superhero with two shoes exclusive to streetwear retailer Jimmy Jazz. The brand gleaned inspiration from the Black Panther’s Vibranium suit to transform its 574 Sport and 990v4 Mid sneakers.
Developed with a combination of black leather and knit, the special 574 Sport features silver metallic outlining, tribal imprints along the midsole and a red Marvel lace lock. On the other hand, the 990v4 Mid reads more heavy-duty in durable suede and Cordura fabrics. Its lug sole and metal grommets complete the tough-guy aesthetic. Both e-commerce sites as well as select Jimmy Jazz stores are currently selling the New Balance Black Panther collection, priced from $129.99 for the 574 Sport up to $210 for the 990v4.
Clarks utilized its Originals’ Trigenic Evo laceup as a tribute to the character’s prowess and flexibility. The British footwear brand presented the sneaker in all-black, with updates including a rubberized “Black Panther” icon heel badge and embossed “Clarks Originals” and “Black Panther” leather brand fobs. Recently restocked, the limited-edition style is available on the Clarks website, priced at $240 for both men’s and women’s.
With the release of “Black Panther”coinciding with the tail end of New York Fashion Week, Marvel Studios hosted “Welcome to Wakanda” on Feb. 12 during the shows. Seven designers — including Chromat, Cushnie et Ochs and Fear of God — designed one-of-kind pieces to be auctioned off in support of Save the Children, while various “Black Panther” capsule collections were on display at the event, including Brother Vellies’.
Founder Aurora James was on hand to showcase the African footwear brand’s fashion take on the film: tan boots made of sisal hairs from Haiti, which were meant to invoke thoughts on black women, hair and beauty. The exclusive boot, titled A Question on Beauty, became available on the Brother Vellies website on Feb. 13. It sets the bar for the highest price among the various “Black Panther” shoe styles, retailing at $12,000.
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