23 February 2022

LFW: Ozwald Boateng returns to celebrate Black British culture

Past and present came together for the designer’s highly-anticipated return after a 12-year hiatus.

With the lights dimming on London Fashion Week for another season, Ozwald Boateng’s return to the biggest event in the fashion calendar comes as the perfect curtain call. 

After a 12-year hiatus, Boateng’s brand new show, sponsored by CÎROC Vodka, took centre stage at the Savoy Theatre on Monday night. The show, which did away with the traditional catwalk style, was a celebration of Black British culture through music, icons, fashion, community and more. 

The stage was made up of over 100 looks by the designer, as well as Boateng’s friends and contacts who happen to be some of the biggest names in Black British culture — both names that have held colossal weight for years and younger faces that are gearing up for bright futures — alongside performances by trailblazing musicians that carry the UK scene. Amongst the invite list was Dave, Naomi Campbell, Stormzy, Steve McQueen, Anthony Joshua, Idris Elba… to name a few.

As Savile Row’s first Black tailor and the youngest person to set up shop on the street, the event was bound to be one of the most anticipated evenings of the week, and Boateng seized the opportunity to champion Black British culture in every way that a stage allows.

“I did my first catwalk show in 1994, but I’ve been designing since the early Eighties, and the transformation is interesting,” he told the Evening Standard before the show. “When I grew up in the Eighties, being black was not easy. You know, I’d get chased down the street.” 

“There are more people of colour in the industry now than I have ever known before. I was always the only Black person in the room, for decades, and I’ve been to I don’t know how many events — like the Fashion Awards. Now it’s a wholly different experience. It’s actually quite mind boggling for me, and also exciting and great to see how the business has shifted and changed.”

Boateng’s show was the perfect finale for LFW. His signature top-tier tailoring was displayed alongside the patterns, tones, enviable headwear and accessories that make payday far more exciting — everything that the designer has become famous for. It brought identity, figureheads and fashion under one roof for a party celebrating a culture that would never disappoint anyway.

  • Writer Ry Gavin
  • Photography Courtesy of Ozwald Boateng

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