NYWIFT Blog

Below the Line: A Cut Above – Costume Designer Ruth E. Carter

This Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting the oft unsung yet always vital contributions of those working below the line. Join NYWIFT blog contributors Kathryn O’Kane and Mellini Kantayya as they celebrate a few of the many women in history and making history—“Below the Line: A Cut Above.”


By Kathryn O’Kane

Ruth E. Carter is an American costume designer (and NYWFT Designing Women honoree!) with an unparalleled ability to develop an authentic story through costume and character. This year Carter became the first African American woman to win an Academy Award for costume design for her work in Black Panther. She was previously nominated for Malcolm X in 1992 and Amistad in 1997. She scored an Emmy nomination in 2016 for the reboot of Roots.

Denzel Washington and Angela Bassett in Malcolm X (dir. Spike Lee, 1992)

 

Equally at home with period pieces and action films, Carter has over 60 credits in film and television. The Afro-futuristic wardrobes in Black Panthershe says, are among her favorite creations “particularly the Dora Milaje, a team of women elite warriors who protected the kingdom of Wakanda. She said the layered wardrobes of the all-female special forces were impactful and powerful.”

Carter says, “Women still have to fight to show people that we know what we’re doing. That change is still in the works, but at least there’s more of us.”

The Dora Milaje warriors of Black Panther (dir. Ryan Coogler, 2018)

 

Speaking to press backstage at the Oscars ceremony, Carter said: “Finally, the door is wide open. I’ve been struggling and digging deep and mentoring and doing whatever I could to raise others up, and I hope from my example…other people can come in and win an Oscar just like I did.”

 

(Featured Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

PUBLISHED BY

busyk

busyk Kathryn O'Kane is a producer/director with over fifteen years of diverse experience in television, advertising and web media. She is honored to serve on the NYWIFT Board of Directors, which supports the careers of women in the Entertainment Industry. Kathryn has crafted narratives as diverse as “Mission Juno,” which documents NASA’s probe to Jupiter, "Master Class," the award-winning10-part flagship series for the Oprah Winfrey Network OWN, and "San Quentin Film School," a six-part documentary series for Discovery Channel following nine prisoners during the first ever film production class in prison. Having started her career supporting democratic initiatives in Latin America, Kathryn has always maintained a love for international travel and politics, and she looks forward to bridging cultural differences through art and story telling.

View all posts by busyk

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