Oswald Boateng

“I do what I do and pray it’s enough.”

Over the holiday, I finally had a chance to watch British fashion designer OSWALD BOATENG’s life documentary, A Man’s Story. Filmed over a 12 year period, A Man’s Story reveals the angst and rawness of a talented designer who encounters one business challenge after another while trying to balance work and family. I don’t know how Mr. Boateng did it, allowing cameras to capture some of his most intimate moments, including the end of his second marriage to Russian model, Gyunel. While sometimes painful to watch, you definitely find yourself rooting for Mr. Boateng and his dream of global domination.

In 1995, at age 28, Oswald Boateng opened his first shop on Savile Row making him the youngest and first black tailor to do so. His success on Savile Row led to an opportunity to design menswear for Parisian fashion house Givenchy from 2004-2007. A Man’s Story documents the journey with Givenchy as well as his expansion on Savile Row, however, the film fails to capture Mr. Boateng’s sphere of influence outside of noting that his suits are worn by royalty and a few laudatory on-camera complements from celebrities like Paul Bettany, Sir Richard Branson, Laurence Fishburne, Will Smith and Jamie Fox.

A Man’s Story does successfully capture Mr. Boateng’s confidence, elegance, and his undeniable swagger. For all the men who read Zavvi Rodaine, I thought I’d share some of Mr. Boateng’s tips on dressing from GQ UK:

“Anyone can wear color, the question is about finding the right shade. There is a momentary trend to dark colors because when the financial markets are not great, people go for black, navy and grey.”

“The shoulder line is key on a bespoke [custom] suit. Once you have a strong understanding of that, the rest flows from there.”

“If your suit is not handmade, get the other elements really right. Make sure your shirt is pressed and has that sharpness of line. It will demonstrate that you pay attention to the way you look.”

“The most common style mistake men make? The guy who sits down with his buttons closed and doesn’t know he has to relax the jacket. I understand that the harness of the jacket creates [a particular] shape but there are some rules. Release the button.”

“Style is about consistency and not having just one great day or one great photograph.”

A Man’s Story is available at Amazon.com and iTunes.

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