Meet Douriean Fletcher, Special Costume Manufacturer on Black Panther

Pasadena, CA native and MPC 705 member Douriean Fletcher’s latest work can be seen in this week’s release of the hotly-anticipated film Black Panther. She creates wearable art pieces inspired by the African diaspora and her studies in South Africa. Fletcher’s handmade jewelry tells a story and conveys character; her work has previously been featured on NCIS: New Orleans, The Voice, Roots, and TLC’s The Beauty Masters. MPC 705 was able to catch up with her and get a brief rundown on her craft and her creations for this monumental film.

What got you interested in such a specialized field?

I’ve been making jewelry and wearable art for about eight years. During my artist’s journey, my desires to create bigger, more ornate work have inspired me to create very unique pieces that tell powerful stories, particularly through their visuals. That desire led me to this opportunity to create specialty work for Black Panther.

How long have you been a Special Costume Manufacturer?

I became a member last year, [in] 2017.

What does metalworking and jewelry-making as a 705 member consist of?

Lots of hammering, soldering, plating. Typical metal-smithing, but also making sure the work is functional for its role in the project.

What is the hardest part of your job?

The hardest part is scheduling — making sure if pieces need to be plated that the pieces are done in enough time and returned to shoot. The physical work is the fun part.

On average, how long does it take to make a piece from start to finish?

It depends on the piece. A set of armor takes much longer than a pair of hoop earrings. It can take anywhere from ten minutes to ten hours.

Of the pieces we’ve seen from Black Panther, which ones are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of the Dora Milaje armor. All eleven pairs of armor were handcrafted from metal. It’s such a critical part of the costume, as it supports the story of these warrior women’s boldness, dedication to Wakanda, and strength.

Douriean Fletcher can be found on Instagram at @douriean.