Leave it to the black community to know how to represent and celebrate their own if no one would, and globally acclaimed Ghanaian-British designer Ozwald Boateng just took things a notch higher, showing people in the fashion scene how it is really done.
The officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire brought black culture to life at the Apollo Theatre, New York, on Friday, with his very anticipated Africanism women’s wear fashion show.
The show, which is the first of many, is part of several events taking place all over Harlem and the rest of New York City, between 2018 and 2020, to mark the centennial of the Harlem Renaissance.
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Marking 100 years since its beginning, the Harlem Renaissance, which spans between 1918-1937, saw the birth of the African-American popular culture as a global phenomenon.
The much talked about fashion show featured an all-black model line up and a women’s wear collection that fuses West African and other parts of Africa urban culture, as well as, the black culture that developed during the Harlem Renaissance.
Through his collection, Ozwald Boateng skillfully shows the similarities between blacks in Africa and in the diaspora through the clothes they wear in modern times.
The catwalk was honoured with names such as 67-year-old model Jo-Ani Johnson, who opened the show, Jidenna, and Michael K. Williams. It also featured black only music from legendary Fela Kuti to Prince.
Best known for his designer tailored suits for men, branching into clothing with a touch of Africanness, as well as, women’s wear, is new territory for Boateng. However, the experienced designer brought “authentic identity” to full display, both in words and in his new collection.
Speaking to CNN after the show, he said: “We live in a time where Authentic Identity is becoming a crucial part of who we are and the journey we are on.”My journey continues through working with British Airways on the new uniform, something I am proud and excited to share next with the world.”
The show was attended by several black celebrities, including Idris Elba, Jame Fox and Malik Yoba.