Congratulations are in order to Ruth Carter, the first African-American woman to ever win an Oscar for costume design. She was awarded this honor on Sunday, based upon her recent costume creations for Marvel’s mega blockbuster, Black Panther. Ruth recently served as IIDA Southern California Chapter’s keynote speaker at the Los Angeles Leaders Breakfast in September 2018. Over 400 design community attendees enjoyed Ruth’ s presentation, as she shared personal sketches and explained the methodologies for over 1,000 Black Panther hand crafted costumes.

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Ruth has provided her creative expertise to more than 40 films, earning Academy Award nominations in Best Costume Design for her work on Malcom X (1992) and Amistad (1997). However, this past Sunday’s 91st Academy Awards, marked Ruth’s very first Oscar win. During her speech, Ruth describes what the win symbolizes: “It means that we’ve opened up the door… 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 there is hope and other people can come in and win an Oscar just like I did.”

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During a recent interview with FastCompany, Ruth discusses her ideation on conceptualizing the costumes, stating that she wanted the costumes to not portray typical superheroes; “We didn’t want them to be these sexy girls walking around with a guy in a bulletproof catsuit. We wanted them to be serious fighters”. Furthermore, Ruth goes on to describe where her iconic costume design originating, largely from the east African tribe known as the Maasai. The color red was important symbolism: ”This brilliant red is a consistent color in Africa. So I upped the ante on the tone… I wanted it to be almost like an intimidating red, just intense and saturated”.

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Photo Credit: Marvel Studios / Walt Disney Pictures

IIDA Southern California is thrilled to congratulate Ruth Carter on her recent Oscar win and forever changing the history of costume design. We are thankful to have experienced Ruth speak at our recent Leaders Breakfast event, along with honoree Jayna Zweiman, co-creator and mastermind behind The Pussyhat Project, a global women’s movement which has reached over 600 rallies across multiple continents. To see more photos from the 2018 Leaders Breakfast event, click here.

Congratulations Ruth!