Ozwald Boateng is widely credited with introducing Savile Row tailoring to a new generation. The first tailor to stage a catwalk show in Paris, Boateng's many clients include Laurence Fishburne, Samuel L. Jackson, Keanu Reeves and Mick Jagger.
While studying computing at Southwark College, he was introduced to cutting and designing clothes by his girlfriend at the time. Using his mother's old sewing machine, he started designing and selling clothes to his fellow students. At sixteen he sold his first collection to a menswear shop in Covent Garden, and by the time he was twenty-three he had set himself up full time in business.
Keen to learn the best of traditional tailoring, he would find out who best stitched buttonholes, who set sleeves the best way, who made the best linings and so on, at the same time developing his own style and look.
Ozwald sees himself as more than a tailor, and more than a designer, so he coined the term 'bespoke couturier'. He will be the first Savile Row designer to open an American store when he opens his Madison Avenue boutique this autumn, and in 2004 he plans to open a retail emporium in Moscow.