Ozwald Boateng is including his African heritage in more and more of his designs.
The British designer’s parents emigrated from Ghana to the UK in the 1950s and he admits that when he began his fashion career in the late 1980s he shied away from embracing his roots.
Boateng – who was the youngest black designer to open a business on London’s Savile Row in 1995 – is now proud to fuse his African and British influences and he insists they were never more on display than in the outfits he created for the ‘Black Panther’ Marvel Cinematic Universe film, which were inspired by the ankara styles of West African gentlemen.
Speaking to website Refinery29, he said: “Now, I’ve reached a place where I’m more vocal [about race]. My work has a strong African identity without being what you would normally expect … To make clothing for the film was a great, great honour. I wish I could do more. I wish I had the opportunity to have gotten involved with the film from the beginning. I’ve never seen the extravaganza of clothing and such fabrications with such strong African heritage. I’d never seen anything like it before and being a designer, it was such a beautiful thing to see.”
Boateng was thrilled by the success and impact ‘Black Panther’ had and thinks it will have a long-lasting impact on cinema.
He said: “It revolutionised the truth of Africa.”