Ruth E. Carter has fashioned stage, television and film costumes for more than 40 years. Film, specifically, is the medium that has catapulted her design work into legendary status.

The award-winning costume designer made history twice with the iconic “Black Panther” franchise when in 2018 she became the first Black person to win an Oscar for Best Costume Design, and in 2023 at the 95th Academy Awards she became the only Black woman to win two Oscars, with her second win for the Black Panther sequel “Wakanda Forever.”

Carter’s penchant for cultivating Afrocentric costuming, both historical and fantastical, has made an indelible impression on the film industry as well as filmgoers. The legacy she has created with her work will undoubtedly be a beacon for future generations of designers.

As one of the most prolific costume designers of the 21st Century, Carter has stitched her niche amongst the elite in her field. She has collaborated with Hollywood glitterati running the gamut from directors Spike Lee, Ryan Coogler and Ava Duvernay to actors such as Angela Bassett, Whitney Houston and Chadwick Boseman.

Letitia Wright (Shuri, Black Panther) and Angela Bassett (Ramonda) in a scene from the “Black Panther” sequel “Wakanda Forever.” Photo Credit: Matt Kennedy/Marvel Studios

The HBCU graduate has costumed more than 40 films including critically acclaimed and award-winning movies such as “Malcolm X” and “What’s Love Got to Do With It” as well as period films with narratives woven into the fabric of American history such as “Amistad” and “Selma.”

Her work is a testament to the power of costume design in film, as she seamlessly integrates historical accuracy, cultural authenticity, and artistic flair to create costumes that transform the characters and transport the audience to different places and times — real and imaginary.

“Thank you to FashFilmFete for honoring a career that enriched the black experience on screen and allowed audiences to understand us through the powerful storytelling medium of costume design. Over my career, every historical film or biopic I costume designed set the stage to introduce Afrofuturism in the Black Panther films. With this career achievement award, I’m proud that Afrofuturism continues to be celebrated.” — Ruth E. Carter

In recognition of her groundbreaking career, FashFilmFete is honored to present Ruth E. Carter with the inaugural Costume Design Career Achievement Award in Film, for her outstanding contributions to the industry. She not only elevated the art of costume design on the silver screen but has also profoundly impacted representation and diversity in film.

Image Source: Ruth E. Carter