La Sapeurs: Dandies of the Congo

After the dust of WWII had settled, Congolese soldiers brought Parisian fashions back to the Congo. This is a great example of the cultural exchange which occurs during wartime. As deplorable and devastating as war is, it does act as a vehicle for ideas, food, and….fashion! It’s interesting to see how the poverty-stricken regions of the Congo have acted as a natural preserve for dandy fashion.

The pride of the “la sape” (translates to “society of Ambianceurs and elegant people”) is wholly apparent, and the style of these gentlemen is undeniable. Note the confidence, the swagger, the elegance of these Sapeurs, in comparison to their dull, impoverished environment. In the midst of a dog-eared world, these Congolese dandies shine like stars– and they know it!

By cliocult

If you're reading this, you're probably semi-curious about history, culture and fashion, and wondering who the heck has been writing these wonderful pieces about yester-year and sartorial subject matter! ;) Well, I have a BA in Social History, through Empire State College, and an MA in Costume History, through NYU Steinhardt. My love of fashion and textile history dovetails neatly somewhere in between the region of my over-stuffed walk-in closet (where my cherished vintage wardrobe lives), and my role as a fashion researcher and curatorial assistant intern. Basically, I wear the history that I so adore on my back!

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