As we’ve learned from films like Sex and the City, The Great Gastby, and An Education, the costumes in some movies can often make as big of an impact as the performances (or the plot!).
Dope, the Sundance breakout hit about ’90s-obsessed kids who live in Inglewood, California, and get caught up in a drug deal gone bad, is no exception. High-waist jeans, bamboo earrings, boxer shorts exposed Marky-Mark style, and tons of plaid shirts pepper the present-day-set film. So, yes, while we cannot wait to see the stars of Dope—Shameik Moore, Kiersey Clemons, and Tony Revolori—make their movie debuts, we’ll admit the costumes have us equally excited. Here are fun facts to know about the movie’s seriously buzzed-about outfits.
Patrik Milani is the person behind Dope‘s costumes: The Italian costume designer is relatively new to the movie game, though, having worked on only four films prior to this.
Milani found his inspiration on social media: He told The Fader, “The main research I did was going to Instagram and looking under #Inglewood, #InglewoodHigh, and #InglewoodProm. I got into all of these people’s accounts and started following real kids who were students. Obviously I would pick the people who were more fashionable. That was a lot of really good research. I’m almost 45; what am I going to do? Hang out at high schools? I printed everything and showed it to the director and he was like, “Oh my God.”
Major players in ’90s hip-hop culture also served as inspiration: “Aaliyah was a big point of reference for Diggy,” Milani shared with I-D. “I wanted to help draw out her feminine side in a way that felt authentic for the character. At first, I was thinking more along the lines of Missy Elliott, but I wanted to create a more feminine silhouette. Aaliyah was so sexy even though she wore baggier men’s clothes, so Diggy stemmed from there. I also looked a lot at NWA for Tony [Revolori]’s character, Jib.”
Many of the pieces were actually sourced on eBay: In an interview with The Examiner he said, “Vintage stuff is so rare, that I found myself up late at night bidding on auctions on eBay—just to find the right pieces for the film.” Milani also hit up local West Coast shops. He shared with Refinery 29, “There’s a store in Sun Valley where I got a poncho for one of the characters for $3. I mean, $3 in Sun Valley! I think if you have a good eye, you don’t have to spend a lot of money.”
Pharrell also played an influential part in creating the costumes: As the executive producer the CFDA Fashion Icon helped take the costumes to the next level through his connections. “I only met Pharrell once, but I was dealing with his producer, Mimi Valdes,” Milani told Complex. “When she came on, she said my friend has this website Karmaloop, you can order anything you want. Since this is an independent movie, that really opened up my budget. The main kids, I had already shopped for, but the website really helped make the movie be what it is. Having Pharrell involved opened up a whole new world to me.”