- Sep 17, 2015
- 0 comments
- by The Dealer
When you think of the Republic of Congo many images may come to mind. Lush tropical forest, magnificent wildlife and the 1995 box-office hit, named after the African nation, are common images often associated with the country. However, many wouldn’t expect to find some of the most dapper and well-dressed men walking the streets of the nation’s impoverished capital city of Brazzaville.
The Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People (Societe des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elegantes), or Sapeurs, are gaining recognition worldwide for their unique, yet elegant fashion and over-the-top style. From bowties to parasols, the Sapeurs are on a mission to dress to impress and in the process are changing the world’s view of Congolese people. Donning vibrant colors, exquisitely tailored suits and a wide array of men’s fashion accessories, the Sapeurs are contradictions to the bleak and poverty-stricken streets upon which they walk.
Founded in the 1960’s, by Stervos Niarchos, the Sapeur movement consists of a group of men who are dedicated to dressing and behaving in a true gentlemanly manner. For these men, the movement is more than just fancy shoes and clothing. To be a Sapeur, one must follow a set of rules and a code of conduct befitting a gentlemen. Sapeurs are required to follow strict grooming guidelines, promote peace and remain mild tempered. This code gives these men a sense of pride and accomplishment in a world where it is easy to fall into despair.
With a style reminiscent of the 20th century Parisian jazz-era, Sapeurs pair classical elegance with bright colors and an African flare. In a country that has faced horrible persecution, political unrest and civil war, the Sapeurs’ impeccable, flamboyant style is a breath of fresh air in an environment that could otherwise be stifling.