John L. Jensen was engaged early on in the production of The Ten Commandments to work on pre-production concept paintings and sketches alongside Arnold Friberg. Their role extended into costume design, Friberg designing primarily for the leading men, while Jensen worked mainly on women's designs. Jensen remembers, "We could (and did) draw everything, which then went across the lot to Western Costume for a cost estimate." It is possible that Jensen re-sketched Friberg's more elaborate concept oil paintings for production use.
According to Friberg biographer Ted Schwarz, "[Friberg] wanted to set Moses apart from the Egyptians who traditionally wore light-colored clothing. He decided to have a strongly contrasting robe for Moses to wear during his return from exile... The greatest contrast seemed to be a robe of red design. to which Friberg added black and white stripes that would be woven into the fabric. Using his costume painting as a model, the entire robe was created from goat's hair, the cloth woven on looms identical in design to those used in ancient times. Although Friberg did not realise it at the time, by almost miraculous coincidence the colors he used were the exact colors of the tribe of Levi - the tribe of Moses' parents... Thus as added dimension of authenticity was present, and the garment from then on was called "the great Levite robe.'"
As the Levite robe becomes an important symbol to Moses, reflecting his Hebrew heritage, it stands out as an important symbol throughout the film. Friberg explains "...the picture has a continuity of costumes throughout. The same costume is used in different ways by different people at different points in the story. Moses' Levite robe starts out as a piece of baby blanket... it goes into desert exile with him, and, by the end of the movie, becomes a kind of church vestment."