…Inside The Black Man's World


September 20, 2011

Designer Profile: Ozwald Boateng

Ozwald Boateng

Most people can talk about the craftsmanship of Giorgio Armani’s suits or the classic tailoring of Calvin Klein. But, ask them to name a Black male designer and some people can’t come up with one except for urban hip hop labels like Rocawear or Sean John. From 2007 up until he was recently fired, black designer Patrick Robinson was The Gap’s Executive Vice President of Design. One Black man who has received numerous accolades is Sean ‘P.Diddy’ Combs for his non-urban Sean John men’s collections. Some would argue he’s not a real designer but a celebrity using his name to push a label. Can you name one?

In men’s fashion, one of the most respected Black designers is Ozwald Boateng. He has dressed celebrities including Will Smith, Laurence Fishburne, Jamie Foxx and Keanu Reeves. He even created a suit for the most powerful man in the world, President Barack Obama. Despite not being a household name, Boateng is one of the fashion industry’s most successful Black designers.

Jamie Foxx wore Ozwald Boateng when accepting his Oscar in 2004

Based in London, England and of Ghanaian descent, he has been in the design business for over 20 years. He assisted other designers with their work before he officially launched his own label in 1995. Boateng was the first Black to open a shop on London’s historical Savile Row. Since then he has continued to marvel the world with his ability to create clothing that brings together his love of culture and his desire to create clothing that embodies the essence of a man.

P.Diddy gets measured by Boateng for a suit.

Boateng is known for his use of colour, texture and refined fabrics. He mixes the contemporary with traditional style details. The quality of craftmanship in his work is highly recognized in the industry. It truly represents the image of a modern man who appreciates well made clothes. He credits Giorgio Armani as a source of inspiration. Boateng says it’s because of what Armani has done on a global scale that inspired him to become an international designer. In the BBC documentary film about his life ‘Why Style Matters‘, he said “Style is personal and is a reflection of who you are and your character…colour has a lot of meaning because colour can also be very spiritual.” He went on to discuss his ability to understand the male form and how important cut is to creating the illusion of a slimmer body no matter what a man’s jacket size is.

Boateng loves to use bright colour. Runway show from his Spring/Summer 2011 collection

For his winter 2011 collection he remains true to his vision of fine tailoring and perfect details. This teaser looks like his colours are more subdued with hues of grey, black and charcoal. But, Boateng was quoted as saying that even when he uses black, he still has the ability to create colour with it.

Watch the short video clip below for a peek at his collection for this season.

Visit his website for more information about where you can find his clothes.


About the Author

Ivy Prosper is a freelance writer, public speaker and television reporter and host. Her work has been featured in various publications including ehow.com, BizComb Magazine, and on her fashion blog styleandcultureblog.com. Through her career she has worked in fashion buying, design and as a fashion model. She has also worked in television as a Host, Reporter and script-writer.




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