Black Panther’s costume may seem a bit mundane and monochromatic — but it’s actually a sacred symbol of the Wakandan people and, simultaneously, serious piece of battle armor. It’s also the first costume ever worn by a black superhero. The Wakandan people and Black Panther first appeared in a Fantastic Four comic — though his name back then was “Coal Tiger.” He was renamed Black Panther and, coincidentally the Black Panther activist group was formed in Oakland California a few months later.
His costume is actually a religious garment — like a habit is for nuns. The Wakandan people worship and the black panther and the leader of the tribe gets to wear the snazzy suit.
The super hero’s first screen debut was in an animated episode of the Fantastic Four. But for his first movie debut in Captain America: Civil War, costume designers needed to make his look fit with the rest of the Marvel universe. The final product is subtle-yet complex and really does look like it’s made from a culture that more advanced than ours. But for the Black Panther movie, Ruth E. Carter has made some of the most beautiful, afro-centric designs ever seen in film. For his first solo movie, it really looks like Black Panther is getting the wardrobe he deserves.