Meet Ozwald Boateng, the Designer of British Airways’ Uniform

by Duchess Magazine
British fashion designer, Ozwald Boateng

On February 28, 1967, Boateng was born to Ghanaian immigrants in the London neighborhood of Muswell Hill.

Growing up, he was inspired by the spotless suits his father wore and was given his first suit by his mother when he was eight years old.
Boateng secured a summer job sewing linings into suits when he was 14 years old. His girlfriend introduced him to cutting and designing when he was 16 years old. At the same age, he enrolled in Southgate College’s computer science program.
Using his mother’s outdated sewing machine, he began creating designs that he sold to his fellow students before switching to pursue a degree in fashion and design.

A menswear store in Covent Garden purchased his first collection from him. In 1987, Academy on Newburgh Street also auctioned some of his earliest works. As a result, he was able to launch his first studio in Portobello Road in 1991. He was the first tailor to hold a catwalk show in Paris when he presented his first collection on the runway in 1994 at Paris Fashion Week.

With Tommy Nutter as his mentor, Boateng’s 1995 opening of his boutique on Vigo Street, the southern end of Savile Row, was made possible by the success of the Paris show in 1994.

Savile Row gained fresh respect and drew in a younger audience thanks to Boateng’s modern approach to menswear design. In June 2002, Boateng’s finished moving onto Savile Row.

At the Victoria and Albert Museum, Boateng received special recognition in 2005 with a significant 20-year retrospective exhibition.

The opening of Boateng’s new flagship shop and corporate headquarters took place in 2008 at No. 30 Savile Row, which is located at the intersection of Clifford Street and Savile Row.

In November 2019, David Adjaye, a British-Ghanaian architect, collaborated with the major retailer on this Mayfair Street to create both the inside and exterior signage.

Since 2010, Moroccan-born Bespoke manager Khalid Fakhour has been in charge of the store, which is still the sole Black-owned establishment on Savile Row. Women’s fragrances manufacturer Boateng debuted a new item in 2003. In an extended, jewel-like bottle called Bespoke, there are two separate fragrance vials.

In 2007, Boateng combined his business’s corporate office and Savile Row flagship store, which had undergone a renovation. The former Chester Barrie factory in Crewe, Cheshire, now houses Boateng, which in addition to offering a bespoke service, also produces two ready-to-wear collections annually.

Boateng has created custom attire for numerous movies and television programs, such as Mo’ Better Blues, Hannibal, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Tomorrow Never Dies, Sex and the City, Ugly Betty, Eastern Promises, Gangster Number One, Alfie, Assault on Precinct 13, The Matrix, Miami Vice, Oceans 13, and Rush Hour 3.

For Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class, Boateng created new amenity packs in 2004. the most fashionable first-class kits that passengers can purchase from any airline, according to reviews.

The president of the Republic of Ghana, John Agyekum Kufuor, hired Boateng to plan and direct a performance for the ninth annual summit of the African Union in 2007. The event, which was held in Accra, commemorated both Ghana’s 50th anniversary of independence and 200 years since the end of the transatlantic slave trade.

As part of the company’s centennial celebrations, British Airways announced in 2018 that Boateng had been selected as the designer of its new uniform. In the midst of the airline’s “A British Original” campaign, British Airways released Boateng’s “British Airways x Ozwald Boateng” collection in 2023 after four years of hard work with divisions across the organization to fully understand the demands of people who will wear the uniform.

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