Boateng begins a bespoke blitz from Savile Row

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The Independent Online

Ozwald Boateng, the celebrated British fashion designer, is to open a new flagship store on London's Savile Row as he pursues plans for an aggressive international expansion.

Mr Boateng plans to open 30 new outlets over the next three years. The US, the Middle East, Russia, India, China and Singapore have all been earmarked as locations for new boutiques. His Savile Row shop is due to open in the next few weeks.

Mr Boateng began his career selling clothes in west London's Portobello Road and founded his business at the tender age of 23. His celebrity client lists include Samuel L Jackson, Russell Crowe, Jamie Fozz, Will Smith and Keanu Reeves.

Born in Ghana, Mr Boateng began making bespoke suits in 1990 and is credited with introducing Savile Row tailoring to a new generation. He was appointed creative director of Givenchy menswear in 2003. During the early years of the Blair government, he became a face of the "cool Britannia" movement. He is currently helping to make a documentary of his life story, while a series entitled House of Boateng, charting his career, has already been screened in the US.

Mr Boateng's new London store will be a welcome boost to Savile Row the spiritual home of bespoke men's tailoring in the UK. Tailors on the street have been forced to cope with rent rises of 50 per cent over the past decade and have faced increased competition from cheap Asian-made suits and expensive made-to-measure clothing from designers such as Giorgio Armani.

However, traditional Savile Row tailors are staging a comeback. Industry estimates show that demand for bespoke English-made suits is growing by up to 10 per cent a year.

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