English fashion designer of Ghanaian descent, Ozwald Boateng, was born on February 28, 1967. The fashion designer has acquired the likes and admiration of many for his signature twist on classic tailoring and bespoke style. Boateng was born in North London’s Muswell Hill after his parents emigrated from Ghana in 1950s. He draws inspiration from the immaculate suits that his father wore when he was young. Since childhood, his love for fashion has been quite apparent from the fact that he was only fourteen when he found himself a summer job of sewing linings into suits.
Boateng was a student of computer science at Southgate College when he was introduced to cutting and designing by his then girlfriend at the age of sixteen. It wasn’t long before he realized that a career in fashion would be more appropriate for him and switched to study fashion designing. Boateng’s enviable designing skills came into the limelight when he helped a friend make clothes for his fashion show. Soon, his clothes were seen on the racks of famous menswear store, Covent Garden. This sort of encouragement is what he exactly needed to open up his first studio in 1991 on Portabello Road. In 1994, Boateng was the first tailor to have had a catwalk presentation on the runways of the Paris Fashion Week mentored by Tommy Nutter. The tremendous success of his fashion show led to the opening of his first boutique on Vigo Street in 1995.
Boateng’s contemporary menswear designs helped Saville Row reach out to the younger demographic which led his move to Saville Row in June 2002. Boateng experimented with fragrances and soon launched his own women’s fragrance in elongated jewel like bottles in 2003. The Victoria and Albert Museum honored Boateng with a major twenty year retrospective exhibition in 2005. Boateng’s first flagship store opened in 2008 on Saville Row and Clifford Street’s corner. He currently produces two collections of ready to wear every year which are manufactured at the former Chester Barrie factory in Cheshire.
Ozwald Boateng has also been part of much collaboration throughout his brilliant career. Boateng worked as the Creative Director of Menswear at the French fashion house, Givenchy after being appointed by Bernard Arnault, the President of LVMH. His first collection hit the Parisian runways in June 2004. Boateng discontinued working for Givenchy after his spring collection of 2007 came out. It is also interesting to note that Boateng designed the super premium credit card for Coutts in 2004 which came out in imperial purple. He also designed amenity kits for Virgin Atlantic’s first class travelers in 2004 which were claimed to be the most stylish kits ever designed. In 2007, Boateng designed and orchestrated a show at the 9th Annual African Summit in Accra which coincided with cessation of the 200 year old transatlantic slave trade and Ghana’s fifty years of independence.
Boateng is also a famous costume designer having designed costumes for box office hits like Sex and the city, Hannibal, The Matrix, Oceans 13, Tomorrow Never Dies, Ugly Betty and Rush Hour 3. He has also founded a nonprofit organization in the UK called Made in Africa Foundation in collaboration with Atlantic Energy alongside Kolo Aluko. The organization is established to help assist the development of the African continent and provide funding for the first stage of feasibility studies and business development of large scale infrastructure projects in Africa.