There are a couple hundred costumes in Ma Rainey. The film opens in a tent revival style meeting where Ma is singing and moves to a number of locations in Chicago: an upscale African-American Hotel, the Chicago streets, the store where he tries to buy cola cola. The folks in the film didn't make their own 20's clothes or bring them from home. Every outfit was chosen by a designer. Some were designed, some built, some put together from collections or from vintage stores. A designer looks through the hundreds of options and selects what suits the character and scene.