From Friday 17 September, Somerset House in England’s capital will host the bi-annual London Fashion Week, an opportunity for top designers from every corner of the globe to display their Autumn/Winter collections on runway shows, and impress buyers with their latest trends.
Amongst notable designers like Paul Smith, House of Holland, Mulberry and Adidas by Stella McCartney is Ozwald Boateng, a London-born designer and brand who will headline menswear on Wednesday 22 September. Boateng made the decision to go full throttle into fashion at the tender age of 18; by 1995 he had opened his first boutique on Saville Row.
Boateng adds a contemporary, colourful twist to traditional tailoring, and has seen his threads fit snugly on the powerful shoulders of politicians and celebrities like Barack Obama, Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins and Jamie Foxx.
In an exclusive interview with MeetTheBoss.TV, Boateng outlines his approach, and how admiring and totally spinning traditional direction from household brands like Georgio Armani accelerated his brand to where it is today. Boateng conceived colour, skinny ties and slim cut jackets long before they become fashionable. “It’s funny because what is now the trend in menswear is what it always was for me in the beginning.”
“I looked at all the top designers at that time and said what was very clear is that I had to bring something very unique to the business. So I thought, ‘Well, if [Georgio] Armani’s taken the structure out, I’ll put the structure back in.’”
Now Boateng has spent a quarter of a decade in the business, “which makes me sound like I’m 102.” Despite the time-frame, the brand has seen its peaks and troughs – Boateng has been registered bankrupt – but, as he tells MeetTheBoss.TV, building a top, luxury brand in five years just isn’t realistic. “For a luxury brand, its 25 years, and I think I’ve done it really quickly. I now know exactly what works for the brand.”
Boateng is also appearing in a biopic feature-length documentary called A Man’s Story, which premiere’s at the Toronto Film Festival this month.
Back at HQ, he has relocated his flagship store to a prominent location at 30 Savile Row. Boateng is restless: “I now really want to open stores globally,” he says. The world had better be ready.
In this video Oswald talks about his brand and how his designs are inspired by doing the polar opposite of his competitors. Ozwald stated, “Well, if Armani’s taken the structure out, I’ll put the structure back in”