Ozwald Boateng Channels The Harlem Renaissance In First Women’s Collection In Harlem

Ozwald Boateng, who made history when he became the youngest black designer to open a shop on London’s famous Savile Row in 1995, will showcase the collection as a part of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance.

The Harlem Renaissance, which occurred in the early part of the 20th century, is considered a golden age in African American arts and culture. It was sparked by the great migration of black people from the South.

Boateng’s collection will be launched on May 5th, 2019, at the Apollo theatre in Harlem, According to WWD.

In a statement, the designer’s eponymous label said the show will celebrate culture, diversity, music, history, and fashion.

Last year, Boateng unveiled his Africanism collection at Arise Fashion Week in Lagos, Nigeria, reports a source.

“I was always looking at different ways to develop fabrics to communicate that, so obviously I took the Kente cloth which is traditionally Ghanaian, looking at new ways to interpret Kente I used solid colors instead of the multicolored pattern the cloth is traditionally known for.”

Writing about the designs and his inspiration in Vogue he said: “I was always looking at different ways to develop fabrics to communicate that, so obviously I took the Kente cloth which is traditionally Ghanaian, looking at new ways to interpret Kente I used solid colors instead of the multicolored pattern the cloth is traditionally known for.”

Boateng, who is known for his use of color in tailoring, also shared the effect he wants his clothes to have on the men who wear them.

“I’ve always wanted to take men into a place where they felt maybe they weren’t comfortable before but realized they could be in the use of color and how they could wear it; when you use deep rich colors, any man can wear those colors. If it’s styled the right way with the right components suddenly something a man thought was unwearable suddenly becomes wearable,” he wrote.

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Boateng, who is of Ghanaian descent, created his first collection using his mother’s sewing machine. He has dressed everyone from Spike Lee and Will Smith to Daniel Day-Lewis and the British Airways staff. Last year was announced as the designer of airline’s new uniforms, an important element of its centenary celebrations.

In 2006, he was awarded an OBE for services to the clothing industry by the Queen.

“You wouldn’t talk about [race],” Boateng, now age 51, said, recalling the press surrounding his first Givenchy collection in Paris. Though he made history as the first black creative director at a legacy fashion house, he didn’t focus on identity politics. “There was certain political correctness. You wouldn’t want to bring emphasis [to the fact that someone is Black]. Now, you do,” he added, attributing this shift in global mindset to Barack Obama’s two-term presidency.

Last May, Boateng told Refinery29 that when he started his career, race was not something that he initially wanted to address. “You wouldn’t talk about [race],” Boateng, now age 51, said, recalling the press surrounding his first Givenchy collection in Paris. Though he made history as the first black creative director at a legacy fashion house, he didn’t focus on identity politics. “There was certain political correctness. You wouldn’t want to bring emphasis [to the fact that someone is Black]. Now, you do,” he added, attributing this shift in global mindset to Barack Obama’s two-term presidency.

“Now, I’ve reached a place where I’m more vocal [about race],” Boateng said. “My work has a strong African identity without being what you would normally expect.”

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