Congo Dandies: I Might Sleep Hungry But I Must Wear That Suit!

You got to look like a million dollars! PHOTO | RT
“To stand out, you must have lots of clothes and shoes – that makes a dandy,” one Sapeur said as he showed racks of Kenzo, Armani and Yves Saint Laurent suits in his home. “There is competition, so the price matters,” Severin Muengo said.

There are men in the Republic of the Congo who proudly walk down dirty streets in alligator boots and designer suits, yet they live in poverty. They are members of the fashion-conscious ‘La Sape’ movement, who believe that “price matters.”

All for the look. PHOTO | RT

“When you dress up you really are the best,” Maxime Pivot from Brazzaville, the capital city of the central African country, said. He is always dressed in bright suits and the man calls himself “the king of color.” Where ever he goes, people shout “The god of clothes!” and “The pride of our area!” while falling to their knees. He’s “unbeatable,” they say.

I am god!. PHOTO | RT

To be a proud member of the appearance-obsessed group known as “The Society of Ambianceurs and Elegant People” – or “La Sape” – comes at a price. The men have been dressing like “dandies,” as they say, since the Congolese soldiers who fought in France during World War II returned home to Africa, bringing Parisian fashions with them.

Going for spending sprees on designer clothes, the dress of these men stands out in stark contrast to their surroundings. They never give a second thought to walking dirty streets in shoes that cost them – and their families – more than a fortune


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