Ruth E. Carter is “lauded as one of the essential visual storytellers of Afrofuturism.” — The New Yorker
“Costume design is somewhat of a mystery to people, and this is an opportunity to learn about the costume designer as an artist and a storyteller.”  — Associated Press, as seen in The New York Times and Billboard
FashionAFRICANA’s mission is “to create a platform that recognizes world-class designers, directors, artists and models of the African diaspora,” says founder Demeatria Boccella. “I thought this would be such an extraordinary opportunity to celebrate Ruth E. Carter and her beautiful work.” — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


“This exhibit is like a full circle. It takes you from slavery when African-Americans came to this country … and then it goes into the future with ‘Black Panther,'” — KDKA-TV 
Ruth E. Carter infuses “African tradition with modern technology in her designs.” — WPXI-TV

“I have been dressing superheroes my whole career. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a superhero. Malcolm X was a superhero. Tina Turner, as well as Coretta Scott King, were superheroes.”

-Ruth E. Carter


in partnership with the Senator John Heinz History Center – where it will be on view Saturday, August 25 through Sunday, December 2, 2018.

More about the Exhibit

The exhibition will showcase costumes from Carter’s 35-year career as a Hollywood designer. She’s the first African-American woman to be nominated for an Academy Award in Costume Design and earned a second Oscar nomination for her designs for “Amistad” (1997) directed by Steven Spielberg. In 2016, she was nominated for an Emmy Award for her work on the reboot of “ROOTS” for History Channel. Fourteen films directed by Spike Lee also feature costumes by Carter, and she’s collaborated on more African-American historic film projects than any other costume designer in history. One of her latest credits is the 2018 blockbuster “Black Panther” produced by Marvel Studios.

T’Challa’s Black Panther suit, from Ryan Coogler’s movie, and Carter herself wearing a replica of Radio Raheem’s knuckle ring.

The zoot suit and hat that were worn by Denzel Washington in “Malcolm X,” and replicas of the dress and tights that Rosie Perez wore in her opening-credit dance sequence in “Do the Right Thing.”

From “Selma,” a beaded dress for Coretta Scott King and a dark suit for Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I think the significance of showcasing and celebrating Ruth Carter‘s work is multi-layered. It’s not often that People of Color, Black people, are recognized for the extraordinary work that they are doing — especially in design,” said FashionAFRICANA founder Demeatria Boccella. “It’s a great honor to work with Ruth and celebrate her extraordinary body of work. I’m happy that FashionAFRICANA has created a platform to recognize men and women of African descent who have excelled in the field of design.”

FashionAFRICANA is one of the leading African-inspired Fashion and Art events in Pittsburgh. Established in 2001, FashionAFRICANA celebrates the beauty and diversity of the African Diaspora through Design, Dance, Music and curated exhibitions. Utilizing Africa’s diverse cultural heritage, the show reflects the vitality of the creative human spirit and has showcased the diverse talents of fashion designers and artists from all over the world including Africa, Europe and the United States.