About Ruth E. Carter
Ruth E. Carter made history as the 2019 and 2023 Academy Award winner for Achievement in Costume Design for Marvel’s Black Panther and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, respectively. She is the first African-American to win and be nominated for Best Costume Design, and the first Black woman to win multiple Academy Awards in any category. Carter wows audiences and dazzles critics alike with costumes inspired by traditional African tribal wear merged with a contemporary look delivering fashion and function, incorporating technology, and creating such authenticity, ownership, and empowerment for the characters and viewers; cementing her as one of the preeminent voices and experts on Afro aesthetics.
A career spanning more than three decades in theater, cinema, and television, Carter’s depth of artistry flowing together with her creative instincts, passion for culture and history, empathy for people, enormous capacity for research, eye for detail, and ability to deliver the director’s vision while infusing her art makes her one of the most sought after and renowned costume designers in the world; earning her over forty film credits including two additional Academy Award nominations for (1993) and Amistad(1998) and an Emmy nomination for the reboot of television mini-series “Roots” (2016).
Carter has collaborated with a myriad of directors and visionaries starting with Spike Lee in School Daze, and working with him on 14 films including Do The Right Thing, which is archived in the Library of Congress, Malcolm X, Mo Better Blues, and Old Boy. She joined forces with Robert Townsend making the iconic Five Heartbeats, with Keenan Ivory Wayans in I'm Gonna Get You Sucka, and gritty Baby Boy and Rosewoodwith the late John Singleton. Carter also created the costumes and look for the pilot episode of Larry David’s “Seinfeld.”
Her breath of knowledge in African-American history and art was sought after by Steven Spielberg and Debbie Allen and for the incredible Amistad. Carter continued to present outstanding work for period ensemble films in Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Ava Duvernay’s Selmaand Reginald Hudlin’s Marshall. Carter recently completed work on the first season of “Yellowstone,” a television series starring Kevin Costner and directed by Taylor Sheridan.
Carter’s brilliant bold 1970s urban dandy costume design work was recently seen in the Netflix film, Dolemite is my Name starring Eddie Murphy and directed by Craig Brewer for which Carter won the 2020 Critics’ Choice Award for Best Costume. She can also be seen in Netflix’s Original Documentary Abstract Season 2.
Her work is also featured in Coming 2 America, starring Eddie Murphy and directed by Craig Brewer, which premiered on Amazon on March 5th, 2021.
Carter is the first Costume Designer to cross over into fashion with a Conscious Collection collaboration with H&M featuring Carter’s 90's street inspired look from early films. Carter’s costumes tell stories so intriguing and memorable they influence music, fashion, culture, and film-making and help us to understand ourselves better.
The Art of Ruth E. Carter: Costuming Black History and the Afrofuture, from Do the Right Thing to Black Panther
The definitive, deluxe art book from costume design legend Ruth E. Carter.
Ruth E. Carter is a living legend of costume design. For three decades, she has shaped the story of the Black experience on screen—from the ’80s streetwear of Do the Right Thing to the royal regalia of Coming 2 America. Her work on Marvel's Black Panther and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever not only brought Afrofuturism to the mainstream, but also made her the first Black winner of an Oscar in costume design and the first Black woman to win two Academy Awards in any category. In 2021, she became the second-ever costume designer to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.