Look at me

Chose who you want to be: Fashion statements

“La sapologie” is a trend that unites both Congos: On one side of the river, in Brazzaville, men have been dressing up in colorful suits topped with elegant accessories since the 1960s. On the other side, in Kinshasa, the trend started later, but become much more bizarre and individualistic – trademarks are extravagant fashion items, best to be purchased from Paris or traded, exchanged, borrowed. The more expensive, the better – the more Japanese, the better. Yohji Yamamoto is THE designer. They call themselves Sapeurs, after “SAPE”, la Societé des Ambianceurs et Personnes d’Elegance – a society with its own rules and values. The successful musician Papa Wemba, the King of the Rumba, was one of their most appreciated idols. The Sapeurs, with their devotion to labels and brand names, are the influencers of their time and in high demand for consumer advertisement.