Ruth Carter was born in Springfield Massachusetts. She thought about an acting career for a short time but fell in love with costume design while she was a student at Hampton University (an HBCU in Hampton Virginia). Spike Lee, a Black filmmaker known for his movies about the Black experience, gave Ruth Carter her first opportunity when she worked in his film School Daze.
Ruth Carter has designed thousands of costumes for over 60 films. She loves using them to help the films, the characters, and stories really come alive. She believes that costumes tell important and powerful stories just like films do.
For Black Panther, the film whose costumes lead to an Oscar win, Carter really wanted to use traditional African design and tell the story of a future world all at the same time. Ruth Carter has worked for over 35 years in her career and her creativity and style has really helped to shape Black Film.