Ruth E. Carter was born in 1960 and is from Springfield Massachusetts. In her early days of college she wanted to be an actress. Once after auditioning for a play and being passed over for the part she was offered the job of doing costumes for the play and she loved it. She loved it so much she began to design countless costumes for dance shows and theater productions at her school Hampton University. After getting some more schooling at USC and an internship for the Los Angeles Theater Center she would meet a young filmmaker named Spike Lee. In her early career she worked with Keenan Ivory Wayans, but it was with Spike that she would work on more than 12 of his projects. Films such as Malcolm X, Crooklyn, and Do the Right Thing. Carter described her process with a ton of research using photographs, oral history, and books. She uses many references to make a mood or inspiration board in her studio, set trailers, and online that is both physical and digital. Ms Carter has worked on over 40 films and TV shows to date with projects such as Being Mary Jane, Love & Basketball, Selma, The Five heartbeats, Meteor Man, Empire, Serenity, and most recently she designed costumes for Marvel’s Black Panther. She has been nominated for an oscar, an academy award, an emmy, and she has won the “career achievement” award from the American Black Film Festival. Word has it she is training new costume designers as well.
Sources: Slate’s Represent podcast, Fashionista, Imdb, Black Reel Awards