At twenty-three, disllusioned with a mundane job in IT, he had set himself up full-time in business.
Keen to learn the best of traditional tailoring, Boateng 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.
He's survived bankruptcy, two marital breakdowns and a persistent habit of referring to himself in the third person: Ozwald Boateng remains a force to be reckoned with.
The first black tailor on Savile Row and former creative director of Givenchy, Boateng this month releases , his 12-years-in-the-making film of his remarkable career.
“The idea of getting caught up in any aggro and having to face him, was a major deterrent!
With the help of his mother, who was an excellent seamstress, he started selling his mother's designs to passers-by along Portobello Road.Proud to have chosen the latter path, the 45-year-old – who kindly agreed to do a batch of interviews, despite it being his birthday (February 22) – laughed when asked why he didn’t opt for rebellion.HERE COME THE BOYS: Boateng’s show at London Fashion Week in 2010 “Well..dad was strict,” he said, chuckling."I'm not nervous about the film, I'm excited - it's like the first time I sold a suit," he explains to GQ.com, sitting in an elegant café in London's Mayfair. When I went to Paris for my first catwalk show I was always the kid. I've got mileage in the tank." Here he explains how men should wear colour, why Giorgio Armani still inspires him and why everyone should follow the sartorial example of ageing rockers... My mother was very particular about clothing - it always used to have to go back into the plastic and it used to drive me insane.Confidence can sometimes be misconstrued as arrogance. American 's André Leon Talley came to my second showing in Paris.