Ozwald Boateng – Traditional British Tailoring with a Twist
Bespoke and Ready-to-Wear Tailoring from No. 30 Savile Row
View Ozwald Boateng Fashion collections on London Fashion Review Blog
History of the Ozwald Boateng Fashion Label
Ozwald Boateng was born in North London’s Muswell Hill to Ghanian parents in the late 1970’s. His father, a fan of an immaculately tailored suit, gave Boateng his first suit when he was just fine and from that day his father became an inspiration to him.
A self-taught designer, Boateng began tailoring at the age of 16 after realising his potential and his creative talent after helping a friend design and make clothes for a fashion event. He received praise for his work in his first show and decided to open his first studio on Portobello Road in 1991. Just 23 at the time he soon earned a reputation as a British tailor with great talent. Inspired and advised by the renowned Tommy Nutter, Ozwald Boateng realised his dream of becoming a top bespoke tailor by opening a shop in Savile Row in 1994.
In 2003, The President of the LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy), Bernard Arnault handpicked Ozwald Boateng to be the menswear Creative Director at the acclaimed fashion house, Givenchy. After a successful 3 years, Boateng parted with Givenchy following the Spring/Summer 2007 collection.
In 2008, Boateng relocated the brand’s flagship store to a more prominent position at No. 30 Savile Row. The design of this store became the blueprint for the global expansion of the brand. As of 2011, Ozwald Boateng produces two ready-to-wear collections a year which are sold internationally and in his flagship stores on London’s Savile Row and in the brand’s New York store.
Inspiration and Aesthetic of the Ozwald Boateng Brand
Colour is a key inspiration to Ozwald Boateng – his bold use of vibrant colours and textures has redefined the traditional bespoke suit that usually comes in grey and black hues. His unconventional take on the tailored suit has won the brand a loyal following in the world of showbiz, with Anthony Hopkins, Will Smith, Paul Bettany, Russell Crowe, Jason Statham and Jamie Foxx all being fans. Additionally, Boateng Boateng has designed bespoke costumes for many films including: Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Eastern Promises, Assault on Precinct 13, Oceans 12, Hannibal, The Matrix and Miami Vice.
The Significance of the Ozwald Boateng Brand to British/London Fashion
In 2005, Ozwald Boateng was recognised for 20 years at the forefront of the British fashion industry with a major event at the Victoria and Albert Museum. This was followed in 2006 an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace for his contributions to the tailoring industry.
In 2007, Boateng was appointed to the Mayor of London Skills and Employment Board which he contributes some of his time to promote the skills that London requires to remain globally competitive. In the same year, he was recognized as a young global leader by the Economic Forum. This award sees him traveling the world meeting high profile leaders and communicating strategies to affect change for developing and developed countries.
Catwalk Creations – Marketing the Ozwald Boateng Brand
Since becoming the first Savile Row tailor to present on the catwalks of Paris Fashion Week in 1994, the Ozwald Boateng brand has gained a reputation for putting on exciting catwalk shows and events. This has included the 2010 show, where he closed London Fashion Week with a catwalk show at Leicester Square’s Odeon Cinema followed by 100 models taking to the streets of London and walking back to Savile Row. As of 2011 the brand continues to show at the Men’s Fashion Weeks of Milan and Paris.
Ozwald Boateng Added Extras
Ozwald Boateng commissioned a director to start making a film about him in 1998. The director of the documentary, Varon Bonicos became close friends with Boateng which allowed a more intimate and personal moments of his life to be captured in the documentary. Called a Man’s Story, (also the name of his 2011 London Fashion Show which was presented in Leiceister Square), the film captures some of the reasons why Boateng split with his second wife, Gyunel.
The film traces his rags-to-riches story and the personal challenges and hurdles which faced Boateng while he built his reputation as a leading designer on the world stage. The clips feature Prince Charles, Spike Lee and Richard Branson, highlighting his famous connections.
Notably, Ozwald Boateng presents his fashion creativity in other media forms and has demonstrated his own skill in short film productions. He opens each fashion show with a short film depicting the essence of the collection. These production skills have been recognized internationally, receiving both critical acclaim and awards.
Ozwald Boateng has also made a significant contribution to Africa’s development setting up a company called Made in Africa with two business partners. His projects include, introducing mobile banking and assisting to develop a high speed cross Sahara rail network.
Future of the Ozwald Boateng Brand
Boateng has been described as the ‘Peacock’ of Savile Row for his use of bright colours and his flamboyant personality. And as the first black designer to open on Savile Row he has been claimed by many as the man who ultimately broke the race barrier of British tailoring. In the future expect Ozwald Boateng to continue barrier in traditional British Bespoke tailing.
Visit the official Ozwald Boateng website here.