JAKARTA: Clothing outlets in Tanah Abang Market in central Jakarta have been cashing in on the trend for koko shirts inspired by a garment worn by T’Challa, the main character in the movie “Black Panther,” which made history in Saudi Arabia as the first to open in a cinema in 35 years.
The long-sleeve, low-collar koko shirt, which is normally worn by Indonesian Muslim men when they go to mosque, attend Qur’an recital or on other special occasions, is in high demand these days as Indonesians go on a shopping spree during Ramadan and ahead of the Eid celebration at the end of this week.
Garment manufacturers in the busy textile market have been quick to grab the opportunity by producing koko shirts displaying a similar silver motif to the black attire that T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, wore in the movie. T’Challa, aka Black Panther, is the leader of the African kingdom of Wakanda.
When asked if the Black Panther-inspired koko shirt was in high demand, Didi, a vendor of Muslim clothing in Tanah Abang Market, told Arab News: “Check out the Internet and you’ll see how it’s trending.
“It started to become a trend before Ramadan after the film was screened, so we have been producing the shirt in our garment factory,” he said.
Since then his store, which is located in Block A of Southeast Asia’s largest textile and clothing retail market, has been selling and shipping Black Panther koko shirts in large quantities.
A quick browse through the market, with its throngs of shoppers and bulk buyers, showed that some vendors who sell Muslim clothing were displaying the Black Panther koko shirt in its original color, black, along with other colors such as white, blue, grey and light green — although the motif emblazoned on the shirt was the same.
Vendors said they had prepared large quantities in stock ahead of Ramadan, but claimed that they had run out of stock earlier than expected as people began to shop for Eid festivities next weekend.
One vendor, Juanda, said other koko shirts carried slightly different motifs, but were still inspired by T’Challa’s attire. “Garment factories in Surabaya, Bandung started to produce the shirts after the film hit the theaters,” he told Arab News.
The shirts are now also widely available through online marketplaces such as Tokopedia, Shopee, Lazada and Instagram.
Some retailers on Tokopedia, however, have put up notices telling buyers they have run out of the Black Panther koko shirts.
Ikram Putra, a 35-year-old social media specialist, was quick to grab one ahead of Eid. “It’s trending, happening, inspired by a popular movie and affordable. I bought it for 80,000 rupiah ($5.70) in one of the online marketplaces.
“I like it because the motif is different and more hip than the usual dad koko shirts.”
The Black Panther-inspired attire is not reserved for men only. The motif is also available on a children’s size shirt, with matching peci or traditional head cap for children, and on a black gamis (dress) for women.
Sumiyati and her 8-year-old son Heru Prakasa had to scout several stores in Tanah Abang before finding the shirt that Heru wanted.
“Other stores we asked earlier only had other colors available, but Heru wanted to have the black one, just like in the movie,” she said.
“Black Panther” is not the only movie to have inspired garment manufacturers for the festive season. Another shirt was inspired by Thanos, the burly villain in the Marvel movie “Avengers: Infinity War” — the second movie to open in Saudi Arabia, after “Black Panther.”
An online shop on Tokopedia and Instagram released three striking batik shirts inspired by the Marvel characters Thanos, Winter Soldiers and Dr. Strange.
The Thanos-inspired blue batik shirt has long, purple sleeves with a gold-colored collar that looks somewhat similar to what the villain Thanos wears in the comics and the movie.
Lenni Tedja, a fashion analyst and director of Jakarta Fashion Week, said while fashions can come from anywhere, trends can be particularly widespread when inspired by a movie. “Especially if it is a box-office movie, so it has a big impact to generate trends and boost demand for items related to that movie,” she said.