Dress like T’Challa for Hari Raya
Add some Wakanda style to your wardrobe as local boutique sells replica of outfit seen in Black Panther movie
Tucked away in a narrow passageway on the second storey of Tekka Centre, Al Ain Fashion is one of many boutiques selling tailor-made clothing.
But a particular outfit from the store recently became the subject of intense online interest for offering a slice of Wakanda style.
Last Tuesday, a photograph that showed a mannequin draped in a replica of the regal black embroidered robe worn by Chadwick Boseman's King T'Challa - also known as Black Panther in Marvel's hit movie Black Panther - went viral.
When The New Paper visited Al Ain Fashion last Friday, there were a few visitors posing for pictures with the mannequin.
Store owner Malika Abdul Rawoof, 47, told The New Paper she has received 50 pre-orders for the outfit - priced at $280 - so far, and she did not expect such a strong response from the online community.
She believes hers is the only store in Singapore to sell it so far, although $7 knock-offs can be found on Indonesian websites Tokopedia and Bukalapak.
The outfit resembles the traditional coat-like sherwani.
Madam Malika's version features intricate silver Zari thread work and is made of wool-blended Raymond fabric. Al Ain Fashion will also be selling a bridegroom variation (for $450) that is encrusted with crystal stones in its embroidery. A budget version made of raw silk costs $170.
Even though Al Ain Fashion - which offers menswear in an assortment of Muslim, Indian and Western-style bridegroom and casual garments - was set up only five years ago, Madam Malika has been in the tailoring business for 22 years.
She decided to re-create T'Challa's outfit after her daughter showed her the trailer for Black Panther,which opened here on Feb 15.
It is at the top of the North American box office for the fifth straight week, earning a total of more than US$600 million (S$790 million).
For Deepavali last year, Madam Malika replicated nine outfits worn by Indian actor Prabhas in the Telugu film franchise Baahubali.
She said enthusiastically: "I am good at replicas. I know immediately what an outfit is made of and how to recreate it after one glance."
Soon after watching the Black Panther trailer, Madam Malika crafted a design for the outfit, replicating its look from movie stills of the original outfit available on the Internet. She has even seen the movie twice.
Madam Malika then sent her designs to a factory in Mumbai. She had only one outfit made as she was unsureof the demand for it.
A key difference between the replica and the original is that the former comes as a two-piece Jodhpuri suit rather than the one-piece sherwani seen in the movie.
Madam Malika said: "I want my clothes to be practical and wearable. Singaporeans like to just wear pants and a shirt or a jacket instead of a long robe. That is also why I made the pants shorter."
Her version was made for a Hari Raya collection since it shares many similarities with the baju Melayu traditionally worn by Malay men during the festival. But people of other races have ordered the outfit as well.
One of her customers is a 38-year-old software engineer who wants to be known only as Lina, who saw the viral photo on Facebook.
She ordered the outfit for her brother-in-law as a Hari Raya gift.
She told TNP: "The resemblance to the real thing is quite on point... The price is also quite reasonable."
Madam Malika has plans to create a replica of the white outfit worn by T'Challa in the scene where he visits the Wakandan ancestral plane, as well as a long dress for women with the same embroidery pattern as T'Challa's black outfit.
She will be setting up a stall at this year's Geylang Serai Bazaar, where she plans to sell different variations and colours of the outfits seen in Black Panther, like the baju Melayu and Arabic kandura.