The Almost Unattainable Legacy of Ozwald Boateng

The legacy that Ozwald Boateng has created in the fashion industry is nothing short of
legendary. The deep facets and pieces of fashion infiltrated him before he even knew he was
being influenced. Boateng has an eye and a gift of style, and has used this eye and this gift to
change the fashion game, and make history in the process and set an almost unreachable
precedent for other designers in the process.
Born in London, England to Ghanian parents, Boateng knew early on that fashion was his
calling when he dropped out of his regular courses to study fashion at Southgate College. In
fact, his mother’s sewing machine was instrumental in the creation of his very first collection
which he incidentally sold to Sprint, a menswear shop in London's Covent Garden in the late
80s. The rest is history: from then on, Boateng’s crafty punchy interpretations of typical
bespoke menswear in London, as well as Boateng himself, were known.
Boateng’s designs and musings were not the only things that put him on the map for British, and
eventually, world-wide fashion: he also gained notoriety for designing pieces for the likes of Mick
Jagger, Jimmy Paige and Spike Lee on the ever-so-known Portobello Road in London, a
section synonymous for the newest and the now-est. Due to the ridiculous fame that these
people carried with them, as they wore Boateng’s pieces, people asked who made the, they
responded that it was, in fact, Botageng, and just like that, the name Boateng became
synonymous with the coolest and most cutting edge of menswear. His feature on The Face
magazine in 1987 set in stone the position he would hold on the influential people of fashion list.
After his foray into and permanent residency of designing menswear, Boateng sought out to
revolutionize another area of fashion: the runway; but not with his pieces this time, but rather,
with his tailoring. Boateng exhibited equal passion for tailoring as he did for his personal
designs. He revolutionized and changed the catwalk game by being the first proper tailor to
have a runway show in Paris fashion week. As if this fact alone was not revolutionary, Boateng
sent the invite to this show in the form of a promotional video; a trend that is seen often in this
day in age as well, and that is almost seen as a new concept, but in actuality, is not. Boateng
single-handedly put his name on the map as a designer, and a tailor, as well as set a precedent
for essentially every runway show and invite since 1995, when this monumental event took
place.
Boateng went on to open his first shop at the end of London’s Savile Row at the tender age of
28; displaying his futuristic London bespoke styles peppered with Ghanian influence, as well as
design wardrobe for movies, and win Best Menswear Designer in 1996 at Trophées de la Mode
in Paris, in addition to many other awards. He released a perfume, and had an audience with
the Ghanian King. He even made his name in fictional television when he is noted for dressing
Stanford Blach on Sex & the City, and, presumably, reaching a whole new audience in the

process simply from said mention. That times his position as Creative Director at the fashion House of GIVENCHY from 2003 - 2007. Where he then was made a Young Global Leader, as he fell into
the category of one of the 250 most distinguished young leaders under the age of 40 from all
over the world. Most recently, he released his A.I, an immersive fashion show experience held
at the Harlem Apollo in New York. Featuring a marriage between African and Harlem
Renaissance design, this collection noted Botageng’s first dive into womenswear. And these
accomplishments are just naming a few. All over the map, and yet, all related.
Accomplishments can be listed and listed, but why is Boateng revolutionary, beyond just a
resume of things he has done? The answer is simple: Boateng is a renaissance man of fashion:
he has done it all, and he has done it all well. Oftentimes we see a designer attempt to jump
into perfume, or costume design, but to no avail, or to completely average results. But Boateng
is different: he honed into his craft so much and made his designs and stylings so unique that
they fit and continue to fit well into every category. His styles and musings are so revolutionary
that they have made their way onto the runway, into flagship stores, in movies, television, and
all over the world. His combination of tradition-meets-new age in his designs seems to be a
blueprint for how the world of fashion and runway have aimed to be: staying true to roots yet
attempting to give the people something they have never seen before. Boateng set a precedent
for a designer to do more than just create clothing: they must create a brand and a name and
permeate all areas of production, not just the runway. This is exactly what Boateng did. This is
exactly what Boateng does.