It’s been awhile since I’ve last made a blog post. Part of that is because of technical difficulties I had for the better part of 2017 when my computer crashed. I had to spend the rest of 2017 fixing my laptop and retrieving all those lost files including this post. I’m so pleased to have an amazing team that helps me to continue on. To all my readers who still remain patient and loyal, thank you!
My first post of 2018, goes to the long overdue designer, Yaw Boateng, just in time for this year’s Fashion Week. I interviewed the creator and owner of Boyani last summer in Brooklyn. I decided to save this blog post for this year as it still is amazingly inspirational and one of my favorite interviews I’ve done to date.
Yaw was born and raised in Brooklyn. Yaw was a biology major who went to Paris to study history abroad through a program with St. Johns University his sophomore year. While in Paris, he fell in love with the fashion and art and decided to bring over to New York the Parisian culture because the fashion scene here needed something more unique, he felt. He started off making streetwear and not long after he began to feel it wasn’t unique enough. Through his frustrations, a friend suggested to him to make a dress. A bit hesitant, he didn’t feel that it was quite in his lane to do so, but after a while of studying women’s clothing, he decided to go for it. He was raised by women, lives with women, and loves the way women attire when done right, is presented. It was when he returned from Paris, that his mother began to teach him how to sew a bit, and from there he picked up the rest via Youtube.
Having the talent to draw, he started sketching out what he would like to see on a woman. Realizing how amazing his sketches were, he decided to bring them to fruition. Fabric is extremely important to him. When he selects the fabrics he uses, he wants to give people what he feels they are worth. Having a sponsorship through Fabric Gardens allows him to do solely that. He wants to provide the best experience and feel for his clientele by selecting the best fabric which will leave you feeling amazing.
As for his designs, he wanted to incorporate American, French, and African culture into the fabric. He started selecting African pieces and blending it with French designs, making it a sense of style everyone could wear and get a taste of what Boyani has to offer. Yaw designs clothes for both men and women, for any and every occasion. With the help of his professional team that sews the clothes, he sketches and designs the pieces and together, they bring Boyani to life.
His mentor, Maria Marizelli is a prominent, well-known seamstress. He came to meet her one day, shopping at the fabric store when she complimented him on his shoes. From there, the two began to converse where she learned more about Yaw. It was then, that she suggested to take Yaw under her wing and the rest has been history.
There often is a stereotype of men that in order to design such beautiful clothing especially for women, that one must be gay. As a heterosexual man, he defies and combats this stereotype because he feels being straight has the advantage. You’re able to admire a woman’s total physique, legs, shape, etc.
Your hands are magic, you can shape any piece of clothing on the woman”.
He goes on to say, when you’re a straight man, you have to take away the distractions and understand you are there to work and not be carried away with being touchy-feely. You are present to be an artist.
“When you’re touching a female’s body, you understand what can go on her and won’t, what fits nicely, and what doesn’t. You must use the right model. The model process is one of the most important factors
Le River was the original name of his clothing line before changing it to Boyani. In French, it translates as “the river”. Le River came up from a dream he had. Yaw’s dream is to become one of the top designers of the world. Le River meant for him, that he can impact people to follow their dreams and never give up no matter where you are. As a designer, he felt his dreams were coming to fruition and wanted to share that with the world. Now, the rebirth of Le River is Boyani which stems from his name, Yaw N. Botang. All the top designers use their names and he wanted to rename his brand with a combination of all his names that sounded rich and fulfilling.
One of Yaw’s favorite designers is Georgio Armani who inspires him most because he everything he does has been chic, elegant, and effortlessly classy. He appreciates this because Boyani symbolizes the beauty and power of the woman and the confidence of a man. Yaw doesn’t design for a specific race.
If you feel like you’re a Boyani woman or a Boyani man, then the clothes are for you
The next few steps for Boyani aren’t complicated. Yaw is currently working on getting the website developed. He wants the first look and appeal of the site to make anyone visits instantly want to shop. He wants the visitor to feel amazed and in awe to purchase upon first glance of the beautiful pictures of his garments. Yaw also plans to have his line in major department stores such as Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Ave and eventually open up his own storefront on 5th Ave in NYC. Similar to that of admired line Commes de Garcon, Yaw also wants to have a streetwear line that’s more affordable as well. In this line for both men and women, he will feature, sweaters, bags, and eventually shoes. The goal for Boyani is to be a household name brand.
For inquiries on Boyani, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @yawboateng_ and @boyaniofficial on Instagram for information.
Photography by Story of Kai.