Designer Ozwald Boateng’s parents emigrated to the U.K from Ghana in the 1950’s Boateng, 52 was born in North London. He was inspired by the immaculate suits his father wore, and received his first suit from his mother at age eight.
At 16 he began cutting and designing clothes. His first sewing machine was an old machine used by his mother. At the time the 16 year old Boateng was studying computer science at Southgate College. He would eventually switch to fashion and design. In 1994 Boateng became the first tailor to present a collection during Paris Fashion Week. Boateng’s modern approach to menswear helped introduce Savile Row to a younger demographic. He was the first black tailor to have a presence there. He’s also a former creative director of menswear for Givenchy. Boateng now produces two ready to wear collections a year, in addition to bespoke service. His designs have also been featured in a number of film projects including Black Panther.
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance, Ozwald Boateng presented his A.I. Collection at the Apollo Theater on May 6th. His signature is his use of vibrant color, and prints. His presence on Savile Row gained him a international visibility that brought many celebrities into his orbit. Many of those celebrity fans were in attendance at the show. Some of these celebrities included: Idris Elba, and wife Sabrina Dhowre, Dapper Dan, Jamie Foxx, and Bill T. Jones.
The skirts, and dresses for women were also a nod to the trends of the Harlem Renaissance and the 1920s. It was an era when dresses were designed to allow more freedom of movement when dancing. His first collection for women showed the designers versatility and skill in designing for women. The exquisite backless dress was one of the shows stand out pieces.We also loved the traditionally tailored mens suites which complemented with a nod of Caribbean influence. It was an amazing show that presented a refreshing take on contemporary African infused design. Well done Mr. Boateng, well done.