Friday, December 18, 2009

Sapeurs - Dandies of the Congo!!

So this isn't new news or anything, I just came across it and was like WOW!! Considering the Congo's drab current political state, its really refreshing to see something so colourful coming out of the country. Say hello to the Sapeurs!!

The Sapeurs adhere to a subculture of high fashion, often against a backdrop of extreme poverty. Many live in shacks bordered by stinking sewers in the southern suburbs of Brazzaville. Those of them who can work double jobs; those who can’t must beg, borrow and occasionally steal; whatever it takes to strut in Versace, Prada and Gucci.

Below is a little story about Papy Mosengo (Above)....

In a country where many survive on 30 cents a day, Papy Mosengo is flashing $1,000 worth of designer clothing on his back, Dolce Gabbana cap and Versace stretch shirt to his spotless white Gucci loafers.

“It makes me feel so good to dress this way,” the 30-year-old said when asked about such conspicuous consumption in a city beset by unemployment, crime and homelessness. “It makes me feel special.”
But Mosengo can scarcely afford this passion for fashion. He worked eight months at his part-time job at a money-exchange shop to earn enough for the single outfit, one of 30 he owns, so he’ll never have to wear the same one twice in a month. He doesn’t own a car. He lets an ex-girlfriend support their 5-year-old son and still lives with his parents, sleeping in a dingy, blue-walled bedroom that is more aptly described as a closet with a mattress.


Although this sounds like some of the middle-class twats that live in places like Camden and Shoreditch, who would rather starve so they can buy high fashion and live in a postcode that reflects their shabby coolness, I find this really sad....It's seems more acceptable when it is done in a country that is stable and safe because it is just looked upon as a part of fashion and that's just how fickle and stupid fashion can be. It encourages vanity and produces odd mentalities towards life and how we should be perceived. The fact that this one guy (as an example) is prepared to neglect the welfare of his child and live in some bruck-up yard just so he can don the latest Versace is really questionable!!


Like I said earlier, it's a really cool thing that there is this subculture that exists in the Congo, as we all know they've had and still are having some pretty rough times. When your country is in a bit of a shambles and life can be short and weary, surely the best thing is to find something to aspire towards and that makes you happy and feel good? This is exactly why these Gentleman, to me, are amazing! I don't condone the fact that perhaps these guys are selfish and that they may be choosing to ignore other responsibilities in their lives, but who am I to judge? They look like they are having fun, and to be honest these men look DAPPA!!

If you wanna see more, this book by Daniele Tamagni "provides a fascinating insight to the vibrant street style of the 'Sapeurs', the elegant and immaculately dressed dandies from the heart of the Congo."

(from the above book)


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