Jeweller Douriean Fletcher blinged-out the cast of 'Black Panther'

29 December 2017 - 00:00 By Nothemba Mkhondo
Jewellery designer Douriean Fletcher is the speciality jewellery costumer for the upcoming Marvel film, 'Black Panther'.
Jewellery designer Douriean Fletcher is the speciality jewellery costumer for the upcoming Marvel film, 'Black Panther'.
Image: Supplied

“Afrofuturistic with a facet of fine art” is how young American designer Douriean Fletcher describes her jewellery, which landed her the job as jeweller costumer for the much-anticipated Marvel film, Black Panther, which will be hitting SA cinemas on February 16. 

We caught up with her to find out more.

How did you get your start in Hollywood?

The first time my work was shown on a screen was on a show called TLC’s Beauty Masters. That was released in 2015. During that time I met the incredible, highly-talented, and legendary costume designer, Ruth E Carter, who used some of my work on the re-imagined Roots mini-series. Carter was looking for a very specific aesthetic for the jewellery for Black Panther, and she felt that my aesthetic was a perfect fit, so she brought me on board.

What is it like working in Hollywood?

It’s interesting. It’s a fun journey trying to figure out how and where I fit in the industry. I’m a young African-American woman who is doing something that hasn’t been done before, because I am an artist: my work is unique and it’s handmade. There is a need for something more than a basic hoop or ring or charm bracelet in this industry.

[For Black Panther, she created armour as well as more conventional jewellery.]

A post shared by Douriean (@douriean) on

A post shared by Douriean (@douriean) on

What does it take to get ahead and stay ahead?

Talking to some of the women in the entertainment industry, it seems as if the only thing they are focused on is doing their best work and enjoying it while they’re doing it. They are taking something that challenges their talent and rising to the occasion.

Tell us about your work for the Black Panther film.

I was the speciality jewellery costumer for Black Panther. The experience was mind-blowing. To be put in the position where I was solely responsible for creating pieces for such a big movie was absolutely amazing. 

A few years ago, I used to dream about making jewellery for Angela Basset [who wears her jewels in the film]. At the time I was sleeping on a friend’s couch because I was going through my artistic journey of figuring out where my work fit in the world, and I had her on my vision board.

Best Hollywood memory?

Definitely Denai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, and Lupita Nyong’o’s birthday party earlier this year. The theme was Coming to America, and I had such a fun time. We all dressed up and it was the best night.

What have been your most important lessons so far?

To give 250% to the job. That can be translated into: do your best — and then do more than your best. Stay focused on your work, maintain your relationships with people, always remember to stay thankful for those who have opened doors for you, and have fun!

• This article was originally published in The Edit S/S17, a stand-alone Sunday Times fashion and beauty magazine sent out to select subscribers. Read it online now.