Pret-a-Reporter

This Is How 'Dope' Costume Designer Found the Film's Colorful '90s Wardrobe

Hint: It involved Instagram and one particular hashtag.

Dope, which received a standing ovation when it premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival, is finally hitting theaters on Friday. Led by breakout stars Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori and Kiersey Clemons, along with Zoe Kravitz, A$AP Rocky and Chanel Iman, the coming-of-age comedy follows three outcasts from Inglewood High School as they prep for college apps while accidentally getting involved in the drug scene.

As if the all-star crew and Pharrell-curated soundtrack weren't enough to draw us in, the flick also features some, uh, dope '90s-inspired fashion. So when it came time to find inspiration for the flick's hip-hop vibes, costume designer Patrik Milani looked at the one app everyone is basically obsessed with — Instagram.

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"Another thing I really did was look at Instagram accounts of people from Inglewood," Milani tells Pret-a-Reporter, adding that he also referenced Yo! MTV Raps and Jamel Shabazz's Back in the Day. "I used the hashtag Inglewood High and it opened up a whole new world to me of what these kids dressed like with limited resources. [....] I would just follow them and do screen grabs."

Instead of actually visiting the school and seeing how the kids dressed, Milani preferred using the social media app. "I'm almost 45, I'm not going to hang out at a high school and be a creep," he laughs.


Nonetheless, doing his research on Insta served him well — it led the designer to incorporate more color and fabrics in everyone's wardrobe, which included looks from many L.A.-based streetwear bands such as The Hundreds, Crooks and Castles, Undefeated, and jewelry designer Melody Eshani, who designed a pair of Cleopatra earrings for Zoe Kravitz's character, Nakia. In addition to thrift stores, Milani also visited eBay to find many of the vintage pieces featured in the flick.

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While the designer referred to Insta for inspiration, he also looked to the styles of '90s performers, especially when dressing Diggy (played by Kiersey Clemons) and Jib (Tony Revolori).

"We discussed Aaliyah, and she was very feminine although she wore oversized men's clothes," he says of creating a sexy yet masculine look for Diggy. As for Jib, Milani gave him the NWA and Run-D.M.C. treatment with flannel shirts and black snapbacks. 

And of course, with the film's many references to '80s and '90s music, Milani even created a dedicated hip-hop Spotify playlist that he'd listen to while sketching. Lucky for us, he's shared that list with Pret-a-Reporter, so listen, enjoy and throw on that snapback for good measure.

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