Since his first catwalk show in 1994, Ozwald Boateng has been revolutionizing the fashion industry. The father of two’s parents emigrated to Britain from Ghana in the 1950s, and Boateng has remarked that his aesthetic is heavily influenced by the neatly tailored suits his father wore. He’s known for smart, tailored pieces with surprising and subtle twists. He produces two collections every year, and his fashion house offers custom-made goods for high-end clientèle. More than a mysterious style maven, though, Boateng is a thoughtful man with a compelling past. We’re willing to bet you don’t know these five facts about Boateng.
Not Everyone Likes the Way He Dresses
Beauty, as the saying goes, is in the eye of the beholder. Ozwald’s fashion experiments have occasionally crossed the line from innovative to downright odd. In 2013, GQ voted Boateng one of the worst-dressed men in fashion, noting Boateng’s trademark cockiness and willingness to work with bright, clashing colors. This dubious award, though, should come as no surprise to anyone who knows Boateng. His first suit was a purple mohair number, and Boateng has always been willing to experiment with bright – even clashing – colours.
He’s Engaged in African Politics
Boateng has one foot in his parents’ home continent. In 2007, Ghana’s president tapped Boateng to design a show for the 9th African Union summit. The show celebrated 50 years of Ghanian independence and the 200-year anniversary of the end of the transatlantic slave trade. Boateng is also co-founder of Made in Africa, a non-profit development organization that assists with funding and feasibility studies for local projects.
You’ve Seen His Clothes On Your Favorite Shows
If you don’t live in Britain, odds are good that you’ve never heard Boateng’s name before. Without even knowing it, though, you may still be familiar with his style offerings. Boateng has designed wardrobes for myriad shows, helping to shape a sophisticated aesthetic for his television clients. His credits include shows such as Sex and the City, Ugly Betty, and Miami Vice. He’s also styled wardrobes for movies such as Oceans 13, Rush Hour, The Matrix, and Tomorrow Never Dies.
His Design Start Was Anything But Traditional
Boateng didn’t always plan on becoming a fashion superstar. He began his university career studying computer science. His girlfriend was a fashion devotee, though, and introduced him to the basics of tailoring. Boateng was hooked, and quickly changed his major. He sold his first collection just a short time after learning the basics of tailoring.
He’s a Film Buff
Boateng isn’t content simply designing wardrobes for film and television. He’s also a star and filmmaker in his own right. Boateng starred in two reality documentaries about his life and work, A Man’s Story and House of Boateng. His own directorial projects have included a manga animation work at his debut show for Givenchy, numerous documentaries, and a short film entitled No Boundaries. No Boundaries took second place in the short film category at the 2006 Tremblant Film Festival.
This season’s Boateng collection features, as always, highly tailored pieces in a variety of colors and textures. Boateng tells his devoted throng of fans that style should be an extension of oneself, and that each person who wears his work must be able to find a way to make the piece uniquely his. Want to learn more about Boateng? Follow his Twitter here.