Ruth Carter is no stranger to making history. The famed designer took home took home the Oscar for Best Costume Designer in 2019 and her work in Marvel’s Black Panther has been recognized globally. But long before her incredible work in Black Panther, she had a long and storied career, working with director Spike Lee in over 10 films like School Daze and Do the Right Thing and gained an Emmy nomination for her work in the reboot of ROOTS.
So, with that series of historic wins under her belt, what could possibly be next for the legendary costume designer? Her own collection. Global retailer H&M tapped Carter to create a capsule collection and brought ESSENCE behind the scenes on the campaign shoot to see the legend at work.
“I wanted to take what was a misrepresentation in the past, and rewrite some of those voices,” Carter told ESSENCE. “I thought I could get the most out of H&M by being a collaborator and showing the world that they too want to Do The Right Thing,” she said. Carter’s relationship with ESSENCE is not a new one, as she won the 2015 Black Women in Hollywood Award.
“I thought I could get the most out of H&M by being a collaborator and showing the world that they too want to Do The Right Thing.” – Ruth Carter
In December, H&M rented out a studio in Brooklyn to shoot the campaign for the Ruth Carter Capsule Collection, which was announced today. The collection features hues of red and black and includes her personal logo while paying homage to Ruth’s work in the 80s and 90s. “My work has always been a voice to black culture to who we were in the past to who we are now,” exclaimed Carter.
To carry out a modish twist, H&M tapped stylist Ade Samuel and makeup artist Rasia Flowers to add their millennial flair to a collection that draws inspiration from 90’s fashion. The campaign is a salute to Carter’s longstanding relationship with filmmaker Spike Lee. It recreates “We love” radio, a prominent backdrop throughout the iconic film, Do The Right Thing. In a contemporary approach in mind, the campaign introduces “And That’s the Truth, Ruth!” – a podcasted hosted by Ruth Carter and social media sensation Jay Versace.
Through playful dialogue that pays homage to some of Ruth’s most iconic work, Jay Versace and Carter chat about the inspiration behind the RC x H&M collection and her influential work during the 80s and 90s, ultimately connecting the past to the present.