'Coming 2 America' Style: Where To Get The Afro-Centric Looks Seen in the Film

Coming 2 America' Style
Courtesy of Quantrell D. Colbert © 2020 Paramount Pictures (4)

Get to know some of the more than three dozen designers — from Lavie by CK to Douriean — who Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth Carter worked with on the Eddie Murphy-starring film

With Coming 2 America becoming the most streamed movie of the last year during its premiere weekend on Amazon Prime, one of the most talked about aspects of the film is its gorgeous, global parade of costumes by Ruth Carter. The Oscar-winning costume designer (Black Panther) has created a sumptuous cavalcade of Afro-centric outfits worn by a cast that includes Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, KiKi Layne, Leslie Jones, Shari Headley, Teyana Taylor, Jermaine Fowler, Nomzamo Mbatha and Garcelle Beauvais. In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Carter described the costumes for the film as a mix of “large-scale beautiful African prints” and “gorgeous shapes.”

To create Coming 2 America’s more-than-800 costumes — including the grand pieces for the royal court of the fictional country of Zamunda — Carter created her own pieces and also worked with more than three dozen designers and brands on custom looks. A cast in itself, this array of designers is based everywhere from Nigeria (House of Deola) and South Africa (Mantsho, which did a 2019 collaboration with H&M) to India (designer JJ Valaya) and the United States. “I was all over the world on this project,” Carter told THR.

In the days surrounding the film’s release, many of the designers took to Instagram to write about their excitement and pride about working with Carter on the film. Wrote designer Laurel DeWitt on her IG, “Still on cloud nine after seeing my pieces in my first feature film.” Read on for more on the many designers featured in Coming 2 America.

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Lavie by CK

The L.A.-based brand founded by Cameroon-born designer Claude Kameni has become a celebrity favorite in recent years, worn by Viola Davis at the 2021 Golden Globes Awards, Amanda Seales as host of the 2020 BET Awards, and Tracee Ellis Ross when she hosted the American Music Awards in 2018. For Coming 2 America, Kameni worked with Carter to create a monumental wedding gown in the film “with one of the largest trains I have ever seen,” director Craig Brewer told THR. 

Wrote Kameni on Instagram, “Thank you @therealruthcarter for choosing me to create this dramatic over the top African print wedding gown for Coming 2 America. You pushed me to my fullest potential, and I was able to make our vision come to life. The dress weighs 83 lbs.”

Lavie by CK’s Queen Kerlatana dress in a cotton African wax-print fabric is available for pre-order. $350, laviebyck.com.

Andrea Iyamah

Operating out of Lagos, New York and Toronto, Nigerian designer Andrea Iyamah’s eponymous fashion line has become known for its chic swimwear.

Luna bikini set in blue-orange geometric print; $180, farfetch.com.

Sergio Hudson

Seen on both Michelle Obama and Kamala Harris on Inauguration Day this past January, L.A.-based designer Sergio Hudson’s work pops up in Coming 2 America with a brocade gown worn by Mary (played by Leslie Jones), the mother of the son who Prince Akeem didn’t know he had.

“It was an honor to make this custom dress and shawl for #coming2america with the amazing @therealruthcarter and her team. This was for @lesdogggg’s character “Mary” in the coronation scene,” wrote the designer on Instagram. Hudson is known for his glam take on American sportswear and his signature belts.

Sergio Hudson sequin cocktail midi dress; $895, sergiohudson.com.

Bulgari

Leslie Jones also wears a glittering high-jewelry Serpenti diamond necklace by the Italian luxury house in the film.

Bulgari’s Serpenti collection includes the two-coil Serpenti Viper Ring in 18-karat rose gold set with demi-pavé diamonds; $4,650, bulgari.com.

Uoma Beauty

Paramount, the studio behind the film, partnered with Uoma Beauty on a limited-edition makeup collab. “It was one of those things that just came up out of the blue, and I think it was really good of Paramount really deciding that, whereas most of the times with this kind of collab they always give to non-Black-owned brands, to go, ‘No, this is a story about Africa,’” Uoma Beauty founder Sharon Chuter recently told WWD.

Good Morning Zamunda Mini Color Palette featuring nine colors $29, nordstrom.com.

Laurel DeWitt

Los Angeles-based designer Laurel DeWitt has become known as the Queen of Chain and Metal, creating crowns, hats, skirts and more that have been worn by everyone from Beyonce and Lady Gaga to Shakira and Cardi B. For Coming 2 America, DeWitt made a sensational solid-metal dress for Teyana Taylor’s character, Bopoto, the daughter of General Izzi (Wesley Snipes), and also created crowns for the movie.

DeWitt'ss full-metal apparel runs $2,700 for a chainmail dress up to $17,000 for her handcrafted floor-length Goddess Gown. Her line also includes accessories and jewelry.

Triple-Layer Fringe Necklace with bright-colored chain fringe on a gold chain; $400, laureldewitt.com.

Jahnkoy

For one of Princess Meeka’s leisurewear looks, Carter turned to Brooklyn-based label Jahnkoy, founded by Siberia-born artist and designer Marusya Vadimovna Kazakova and Burkina Faso-born artist Burkindy. The label created a sporty green-and-white asymmetrical Puma halter dress made with cut-outs and accessories that include armbands that say “Democrazy.” Jahnkoy also outfitted the character of Lavelle in one scene.

Puma x Jahnkoy Rs-X Knit Mens Black Canvas Low Top sneaker; $250, jahnkoy.com.

Sewit Sium

Jewelry designer’s Sewit Sium’s pieces — including her Large Scarab Ring, Abundant Fish Ring, Nefertiti Ring and Divine Nefertiti Earrings — are worn in the film by KiKi Layne (Princess Meeka). Before starting her company in 2015, Sium taught Fashion Activism and Design in high schools in New York City. “I used jewelry — the oldest form of decorative arts as an educational tool, as primary document to teach predominantly Black students about their living African lineage, the world and their place in it,” she writes on her website.

Sewit Sium Nefertiti Signet Ring in 18k gold vermeil, handmade in New York to order; $350, sewitsium.com

Khiry

Founder Jameel Mohammed — who calls his jewelry line Khiry as an “Afrofuturist Luxury Brand” — started his company “after being pointedly told by the CEO of a preeminent luxury goods company that true luxury brands could only emerge from Paris and Milan," he writes on his website. He adds that his creations’ “sleek forms evoke themes throughout the African diaspora.”

For Coming 2 America, Mohammed created a custom set of jewels worn by Garcelle Beauvais, which the designer describes on his Instagram as “the Glass Beaded Rose Bearer Set, featuring a dramatic Gold Vermeil and Glass Bead draped necklace, Gold Vermeil and Glass Beaded feathered cuffs, a Gold Vermeil and @Swarovski Stone ring, and a pair of Gold Vermeil and Glass Beaded ear cuffs.”

Khiry’s made-to-order Orb Ring with Rose Quartz on a band of polished 18k gold vermeil; $380, khiry.com.

Loza Maléombho

Côte D’Ivoire-based designer Loza Maléombho, who ships to the United States, teased on her Instagram this week, “Look out for @loza_maleombho selective pieces featured in #coming2america available for pre order online this week!!” In the meantime, her handmade black-and-white Abla Stripe Sandals — featuring a three-inch block heel, cotton-velvet ankle wraps and her signature 24k gold-plated mask pendants — are available via New York City boutique The Folklore, which spotlights “high-end and emerging designer brands from Africa and the diaspora.”

Loza Maléombho Abla Stripe Sandals; $275, thefolklore.com.

Ikiré Jones

Writer, filmmaker, musician and lawyer Walé Oyéjidé and tailor Sam Hubler founded Ikiré Jones “as a vehicle to celebrate the perspectives of marginalized populations.” In Coming 2 America, Tracy Morgan and Jermaine Fowler wear printed tapestry-like shirts created by the label.

Ikiré Jones' website includes a moving story of a young boy who grew up in Nigeria where he watched “a younger Eddie Murphy on a small-flickering television”; later living in Florence, Italy; and not long ago receiving a call to contribute to the film. The story ends by stating, “Refugees. Runway Shows. Hollywood Royalty. And Refugees, Again. Each of us could be any of these. Each of us would be no less beautiful because of it.” One of Ikiré Jones silk tapestry is also seen in the film and is sold by the brand as a 100 percent scarf/foulard (approximately 43 inches by 43 inches) made in Como, Italy.

Ikiré Jones' Legacy scarf, $285, ikirejones.com.

Mimi Plange

Ghana-born, New York City-based Mimi Plange wrote on her Instagram that KiKi Layne wears a hand-painted leather skater dress from the designer’s Unfashion collection.

Plange, who has created skateboards and limited-edition bicycles, has also seen her designs worn by celebrities including Alyssa Milano, Viola Davis, Awkwafina and Gabrielle Union.

Of her one-of-a-kind hand-beaded fully lined mini dress — with stones collected from Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Ivory Coast and Senegal — the designer advises, “Please note that this dress is an art piece and though it can be worn, you cannot sit down in this garment.”

Mimi Plange hand-embroidered bead dress, $8,900, mimiplange.com.

Aphia Sakyi

Founded by Ghana-born designer Magdalene Afia Sakyk, the accessories label, known for its rope necklaces, has been worn previously by Janet Jackson.

Kukuwa rope necklace made with wooden beads; $140, aphiasakyi.com.

Melody Ehsani

The designer, who was recently appointed as Foot Locker’s first women’s creative director, is the founder of an L.A.-based label that includes jewelry and apparel such as jackets, sweatpants, socks and tees.

Peace Tassel Earrings in gold-plated brass, approximately three inches long; $45, melodyehsani.com.

Douriean

Jewelry designer Douriean Fletcher, who previously worked with Carter on pieces for Black Panther, created a golden sash for Semmi (Arsenio Hall) in Coming 2 America as well as a lip cuff for Princess Meeka (KiKi Layne) as seen on her Instagram and now for sale on her site.

Nzinga lip cuff in polished brass; $120, douriean.com.

Maxhosa Africa

Eddie Murphy wears a patterned knit vest by South African designer Laduma Ngxokolo of the label Maxhosa in Coming 2 America.

The line includes an array of apparel for both men and women in arresting prints.

MGF4 polo shirt in 100 percent silk; $374, shop.maxhosa.africa.

TruFaceByGrace

Based in the Washington, DC area, TruFacebyGrace was founded by Grace Yeboah Ofori, who moved from Ghana to Canada as a teenager and later to the U.S. Her label’s mission is to “create, manufacture and produce unique authentic designers influenced by vast African cultures.” Some of the label’s jewelry, accessories and apparel, seen on the label's Instagram, were used in Coming 2 America.

Motherland Map Earrings; $28, trufacebygrace.com.

Appetite of a Millionaire

Fine jewelry by the Black-owned brand is worn by the royal family in Coming 2 America, including by Queen Lisa (played by Shari Headley).

Appetite of a Millionaire Yloni 3-Tone Drop Earrings; $133, appetiteofamillionaire.com.

Kadjoé Design

The Philadelphia-based, African-inspired fashion label is the creation of designer Stephanie Aevouelie, who sources fabrics and has her pieces produced in Côte d’Ivoire, where she was born.

African Print Linda Maxi Dress, $100, kadjoedesign.com.

Righteous & Rich

The Black-owned sustainable fashion company makes jewelry, face masks in Ankara and Kente prints, and apparel and tote bags (printed with phrases including “black. magic. woman.” and “prioritize peace").

Tidal Washable Face Mask and Headwrap combo includes a face mask with a filter pocket, $50; righteousandrich.store.

Mizizi

Paakow Essandoh of Mizizi (not one of the designers used in the movie) partnered with Paramount to produce four officially licensed sports jerseys emblazoned with the name of Zamunda, Prince Akeem’s fictional African country in Coming 2 America.

Zamunda Soccer Jersey; $100, mizizishop.com.