As POPSUGAR editors, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you’ll like too. If you buy a product we have recommended, we may receive affiliate commission, which in turn supports our work.
Viola Davis and Thuso Mbedu star as Agojie warriors in “The Woman King,” which is based on the all-woman army that protected the West African kingdom of Dahomey in the 19th century. Created by Gersha Phillips and her wardrobe team, “The Woman King” costumes are inspired by research and tweaked to appeal to a younger audience, making them the perfect Halloween costume to DIY.
Every detail of the Agojie warrior outfit is intricate and purposeful. Rather than constructing loose, baggy shorts as were traditional in battle, Phillips went for a fitted look to make the costume feel contemporary. The palace tunics layered on top incorporate shades of turquoise and gold, woven by Barrydale Weavers in South Africa. The decorative cowrie shells had monetary value and were used for protection, and the gold jewelry they wore was said to be gifted from the king. The leather belts functionally held their weapons while also helping to create a striking silhouette.
With costumes so thoughtful and symbolic, it’s no wonder that the cast wanted to hold onto them as mementos. Phillips revealed that director Gina Prince-Bythewood gave the actors who played Agojie their weapons to keep, wrapped in beautiful boxes after filming ended. “I think they probably have them displayed somewhere really nicely,” Phillips said. “Viola had even asked me for the arm cuff [she wore], and I have it for her. I just haven’t given it to her yet.”
Content creators and cosplayers are in awe of the costumes as well — and they are already dreaming up their own takes on the Agojie uniform. See a few real-life examples ahead, then shop the essentials you need — as guided by Phillips — to dress up as an Agojie warrior yourself for Halloween.