Ozwald Boateng has had a transformational impact on menswear fashion for almost three decades, with a design aesthetic rooted in Savile Row traditions but defined by international style, detail, and artistry. His instinctive use of colour, cut and fabric fuses traditional classic British tailoring with a high end modern design focus on the refinement of a man’s silhouette, this has brought tailoring to a whole new generation of men.
Born in London to Ghanaian parents, Boateng's talent for flare and design came very early, after dropping out of the computing course he was studying at the time he enrols into Southgate College to study fashion. Recognising that the signs for his future career had been around him all along, he started working on his mothers sewing machine to create his first collection, which he sold to the menswear store "Sprint", in London's Covent Garden in the late 80s.
1986 - PORTOBELLO ROAD
In his early twenties, after having dressed celebrities such as Mick Jagger,
Jimmy Paige and Spike Lee, Boateng set up a design studio on London’s famous Portobello Road, where he would tart a journey that would see him change the course of men’s fashion and become one of the most recognisable names in the industry.
1987 - THE FACE MAGAZINE
With his reputation as a designer of unique, dynamic tailoring quickly spreading, renowned British music, fashion and cultural bible The FACE profiles the young Designer/Tailor, breaking down his take on men's tailoring. Referring to his works as 'Structured Classics', Boateng explains how he is putting structure back into men's suits in line with classic Savile Row tailoring as opposed to the more relaxed lose fit of the Italians which was dominating men's fashion in the late eighties.
1994 - BREAKING NEW GROUND - THE ROAD TO PARIS
In 1994, Boateng became the first tailor to have a catwalk show at Paris fashion week. With a promotion video as the invite. (something that had never been done before), the critically acclaimed show sparked excitement in the fashion industry, putting the British designer, tailor, and craftsman on the world stage and would go on to spawn many firsts.
1995 - REIGNITING A BRITISH INSTITUTION
In 1995, at the age of 28, Boateng open his first retail store on Vigo Street at the end of London's prestigious Savile Row, making him the youngest tailor to set up shop on the street. A staunch supporter and advocate of the Row and its traditional values, Boateng's fusion of traditional British tailoring with a modern design aesthetic and influences of colour from his Ghanaian heritage, he re-establishes the traditional street in a modern world while introducing Savile Row to a new, younger clientele.
1996 - WINNER OF BEST MENSWEAR DESIGNER
Boateng wins Best Menswear Designer at the Trophées de la Mode in Paris.
1996 FASHION SEASON
The 1996 fashion season sees Boateng reinforce his vision for menswear with his Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter collection, receiving rave reviews for his ground breaking style and innovation.
1997 - COOL BRITANNIA VANITY FAIR
Britain was out of the recession of the early 90s and with a new government in power, there was a an air of excitement surrounding the whole country, with a new breed of superstars in politics, music, film and fashion leading the way. In a profile piece written in Vanity Fair's special edition issue 'London Swings Again', Boateng is credited with rejuvenating the old street and leading the way in British men's tailoring.
1998 - LOCK STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS
Boateng provides the wardrobe for a variety of the male cast members
in Guy Ritchie's cult movie 'Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels', which included
Jason Statham and Nick Moran. Later that year, members of the male cast would appear in a special Ozwald Boateng show in London.
2000 - BRITISH FASHION AWARD
Boateng wins the award for Best Menswear Designer at the British Fashion Awards.
2000 - GANGSTER No.1
Boateng provides wardrobe for Paul Bettany and David Thewlis in Paul McGuigan's cult movie Gangster No.1.
2000 - AN AUDIENCE WITH THE KING
Boateng visits Ghana and is welcomed by the Ashanti King of Ghana, Otumfouo Nana Osei Tutu II, receiving an honorary award.
2002 - DRESSING WILL SMITH FOR THE OSCARS
For the 2002 Academy Awards, Boateng dresses Will Smith who is nominated for his role in the Mohammed Ali biopic 'Ali'. Renowned British journalist and esteemed fashion critic Suzy Menkes OBE, writes in the International Herald Tribune that Smith should have won the award for best-dressed man.
2002 - OZWALD BOATENG CLOSES SAVILE ROW
To celebrate the opening of his first Headquarters on Savile Row along with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, Boateng closes the street to host the first ever fashion show on the Row. The last time the famous road was closed to traffic prior to this event was by the Beatles in the 60s.
2002 - PARFUM BESPOKE BY OZWALD BOATENG
Boateng launches his first fragrance for women. Inspired by his wife,
he develops a unique fragrance concept - double vials of two synergistic
fragrances in a single bottle, allowing the wearer to layer and mix a
‘bespoke’ perfume for themselves
2002 - OZWALD BOATENG DRESSES WILL SMITH FOR BAD BOYS 2
Boateng dresses Will Smith in his lead role as Mike Lowery in Bad Boys 2
2002 - CREATIVE ISLAND
Ozwald Boateng is profiled in John Sorrell's book Creative Island, an in-depth look at the extraordinary range and quality of recent British design that's taking the world stage, covering work from all disciplines.
2003 - AWARDS SEASON DRESSING DANIEL DAY LEWIS
For the 2003 award season, Boateng created a special wardrobe for Daniel Day Lewis. Nominated for his role in the movie The Gangs of New York Day, Lewis wore hand-crafted Bespoke suits for the BAFTA and SAG Awards, culminating in a spectacular diamond cloth suit, worth over $150,000, which he wore to the Oscars. The fabric for this special suit was created in conjunction with De Beers.
2003 - DESIGN INDABA CAPE TOWN
Ozwald Boateng is invited to be a headline speaker at the famous Design Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa along with other dignitaries from the world of design, such as Sir Terence Conran, Neville Brody and Javier Mariscal. His speech is attended by over 2000 young South African designers and students, which was said to be overwhelmingly influential to the young black community in South Africa.
2003 - SEX & THE CITY
Boateng dresses Stanford Blatch, one of the key male characters of the hit show Sex And The City over several episodes. The brand is verbally credited in the show.
2003 - THE MATRIX: RELOADED
Boateng is commissioned to dress the male cast of the Matrix Reloaded - the single most anticipated film of the year - for its premier’s around the globe. From Los Angeles and New York, to Cannes and London.
2003 - GIVENCHY
In 2003, Boateng made another mark in fashion history when he was appointed by Bernard Arnault as Creative Director of menswear for French Fashion House, Givenchy. With Hubert Givenchy as his inspiration, Boateng reinvents the Givenchy style to suit the modern French man
2004 - A NEW CHAPTER
Boateng presents his first collection for Givenchy at a spectacular show in Paris. His dedication to making short films is taken to a new level as he also presents his first animation - a Japanese, manga-style piece that he wrote and directed
2005 - DRESSING JAMIE FOXX FOR THE 2002 OSCARS
Boateng dresses Jamie Foxx as he wins the Academy Award for Best Actor in his role as Ray Charles in the biopic Ray.
2005 - NO BOUNDERIES
For his second Givenchy collection, Boateng writes and directs another masterpiece in the Guilin district of China. The four minute short film ‘No Boundaries’, receives critical acclaim for its exquisite cinematography and poignant sequences featuring over 600 soldiers from the Chinese army engaged in a masterfully choreographed fight. The film would later go on to receive 2nd runner up in the short film category at the 2006 Tremblant film festival, in Montreal, Canada.
2005 - FASHION IN MOTION, VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM
In 2005, Boateng celebrated 20 years at the forefront of British tailoring with an exhibition held in his honour at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. He is one of only a handful of designers, which include Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen, to receive the honour. Suzanne Lussier, curator of his show said, "he was chosen because he has revolutionised Savile Row, fusing traditional skills in tailoring and expert cutting with this very modern use of colours".
2006 - AWARDED AN O.B.E BY THE QUEEN
Boateng is awarded an O.B.E by the Queen and named as an
“Officer of the order of the British Empire” for services to the clothing
Industry in her New Year honours.
2006 - RESHAPING AFRICA
Frustrated with the lack of infrastructure and missed opportunities in Africa, Boateng joins forces with friends Chris Cleverly and Hassan Kimbugwe to form Made In Africa. Using his global influence, his vision is to expose African enterprises to international investments and capital markets. The organisation is dedicated to bringing innovative ideas to Africa whilst advising governments on infrastructure, innovation and development of finance.
2006 - POWER OF UNITY
In recognition of 200 year since the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the fiftieth anniversary of Ghana's independence from the British Empire, Boateng designed and orchestrated a historic show at the state banquet of the 9th annual African Union summit held in Accra, Ghana. The event hosted Presidents, representatives and dignitaries of the 53 African Nations, plus celebrated people of African descent from across the globe, which included Reverend Jesse Jackson, Ambassador Andrew Young, Herbie Hancock, and Author Dr Khalid Al Monsour.
2007 - YOUNG GLOBAL LEADER
Boateng is made a young global leader 2007. This honour is bestowed by the World Economic Forum each year to recognize the most distinguished 250 young leaders below the age of 40 from around the world.
2007 - OZWALD BOATENG OPENS FLAGSHIP STORE ON SAVILE ROW
Designed by world renowned architect David Adjaye in close collaboration with Boateng. Situated prominently at 30 Savile Row, with additional frontage on both Clifford St and Old Burlington St, the 6000 sq ft flag ship store for the Ozwald Boateng brand offers a unique, contemporary and luxurious retail experience with its own stand alone gallery and form the blue print for future global expansion.
2009 - WALKING WITH GIANTS
Boateng stars in Johnnie Walker's 'Walk with Giants' an online campaign
with the focus of capturing ‘inspiring stories of progress, shared by the world’s greatest men including, Richard Branson, Lewis Hamilton, Ralph Fiennes.
Users were able to watch a video trailer and then download a 20 minute audio
walk interview. World renowned photographer Tom Stoddart shot Boateng on his
walk around Mayfair, London
2009 - BBC WHY STYLE MATTERS
Boateng is the subject of the BBC documentary, 'Why Style Matters', an in depth look into his life-long journey through fashion, where he added a new thought or influence to his look and reveals just how much being stylish has influenced his success. He talks about style with family, friends, colleagues and journalists and travels to Milan to meet one of his heroes, the master of modern menswear, Giorgio Armani.
2010 - CELEBRATING 25 YEARS
To celebrate the brands 25th anniversary, Boateng closes London Fashion Week in epic style as he staged a monumental fashion show at the Odeon Cinema in Leicester Square. The show featured over 100 models and the finale saw this striking army of men march from the venue through the streets of London and back to his Savile Row Flagship Store.
2011 - MASTER OF ARTS
Boateng is awarded an Honorary Degree (Master Of Arts) by
The University of Creative Arts for his "Outstanding Contribution to the
Clothing And Fashion Industries.”
2012 - A MAN'S STORY
The highly anticipated documentary film of Boateng’s life ‘behind the scenes’, A MAN’S STORY is released. The inspirational, thought provoking film charts the ups and downs of Boateng's life from 1998 to 2010, taking you on a journey with him as he tries to manage and deal with the pressures of balancing work and family life.
2012 - VANITY FAIR HALL OF FAME
Boateng is inducted in to the Vanity Fair 'Best Dressed" Hall of Fame.
2012 - THE AFRICA 50 FUND
Boateng's Made in Africa Foundation along with the African Development bank launches The Africa 50 fund at the Nasdaq .
2013 - HONORARY DOCTORATE FROM UAL LONDON
Boateng is given an honorary doctorate from the University of Arts London In recognition for his achievements and contribution to the fashion industry.
2014 - VERITAS AWARD FROM HARVARD
Boateng receives the prestigious Harvard University Veritas Award for his pioneering career achievements in the fashion industry and for being an outstanding catalyst for global socio-economic development, particularly throughout the continent of Africa.