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Ozwald Boateng is a fashion designer. Born in Ghana in the late 1960s and brought up in north London, Boateng studied computing before dropping out to pursue fashion.
He began making bespoke suits in 1990, and is widely credited with introducing Savile Row tailoring to a new generation. The first tailor to stage a catwalk show in Paris, Boateng's many clients include Will Smith, Laurence Fishburne, Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson, Keanu Reeves, and Mick Jagger.
While studying computing at Southwark College, he was introduced to cutting and designing clothes by his girlfriend at the time. With the help of his mother, who was an excellent seamstress, he started selling his mother's designs to passers-by along Portobello Road. At twenty-three, disllusioned with a mundane job in IT, he had set himself up full-time in business.
Keen to learn the best of traditional tailoring, Boateng would find out who best stitched buttonholes, who set sleeves the best way, who made the best linings and so on, at the same time developing his own style and look.
Boateng sees himself as more than a tailor, and more than a designer, so he coined the term 'bespoke couturier'. He was appointed creative director of Givenchy menswear in 2003. On June 22, 2006, the Sundance Channel began airing a reality television series called House of Boateng which follows Boateng's efforts to launch his Bespoke Couture line in the United States. Boateng lives with his wife and two children in central London, and was recently named one of the 100 Great Black Britons by The Voice and the Greater London Authority.
He was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2006 Queen's New Year's Honours.