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Heroism in fashion - Ozwald Boateng

A GNA Feature by Benjamin Mensah

Accra, Jan. 16, GNA - "Keep designing, keep designing. Be clear to the vision and be committed to it", the excited 39 year-old-man told his questioner.

"Fashion is one of the hardest businesses in the world. It requires strong belief, prayer, determination to make it, so keep designing", the Ghanaian fashion icon told the Ghana News Agency.

The ability to gentrify colour in his clothing has been the focus of numerous design led features as demand for his unique style in interior design increases.

He is recognised in high circles in the global fashion industry, and has much respect for Ghanaian designs and designers.

But Ozwald Boateng, the man who for two decades has been re-writing the established perceptions of Savile Row, the home of British tailoring, says Ghanaian designers have to be more entrepreneurial in thinking and approach to business.

Boateng's more contemporary twist on the classical form on Savile Row, has unveiled a new dawn of classic British tailoring on an international stage by combining the essence of British heritage, global glamour and absolute luxury.

Ozwald is hopeful; that, there is a real rebirth of opportunities in the fashion industry in Ghana.

He told the GNA in an interview after a fashion show at the Golden Tulip in December 2006: "Keep designing. Be clear about it and be committed to it."
The inventor of Bespoke Couture, the traditional fusing of traditional tailoring and European designs, says the numerous awards serve as inspiration to him.

Boateng received the "Officer Order of the British Empire" from the Queen in 2006, for his services to the clothing industry designs. He had earlier in 2002, launched the Ozwald Boateng Headquarters in Savile Row.

To celebrate this, along with the Queen's Golden Jubilee, Ozwald Boateng organised an event, during which the street was closed and over a 100 metres of marquee was erected down the middle of the streets, and 1,500 stellar guests were treated to the crème of a fashion show.

But the price of success is more inspiration, and then more perspiration. "These are inspirational to me, and I think to other Blacks in Europe.
"My obligation is to continue to succeed and build, and by doing what I do and do it well."

In 2003, Boateng was appointed the first Black designer to the position of Creative Director of Menswear at the celebrated French Fashion House, Givenchy.

And he was also honoured in 2004, after 10 years of making short films, with a retrospective of his work Piti Immagine, in Florence Italy.

Boateng tells GNA: "I'm determined to make three feature films, and one of them will be about an African hero.
"We need films about African heroes that could be marketed to define our significance in the world. We need to have more heroes, heroes that would be recognised easily wherever you go in the world."

And the gains from the hard thinking, and pain of the commitment would go into charity, to the aid of the underprivileged.




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