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THE SAPEURS

A LOOK AT THE FLAMBOYANT, COLOURFUL AND DAPPER LIFE OF A SAPEUR

Written by in Fashion History on the / The Sapeurs

"The Sapeurs are a group of individuals emerged in Africa"

So you wake up in Africa. You’re poor, your insolvent and you live in a mud hut. Fashion is not even a priority in your head right now. You want to earn and live a healthy life so you can feed your family for the rest of your life. Right? Wrong, let me introduce you to the real fashion lovers - The Sapeurs. 

The Sapeurs are a group of individuals emerged in Africa, Congo. For the past 25 years the Sapeurs are known for their designer suits, colourful suspenders and vintage shoes. British designer Paul Smith, back in 2010 launched a menswear show inspired by them after reading a book called 'Gentlemen of Bacongo' by Daniele Tamagni, and most recently they've been the focus of a new Guinness advert.

They like to bring a diverse range of colours into their outfits with different tones of each colour. They can pull off a dark pink shirt on a light pink suit and yellow suspenders on a brown shirt at ease. Something many of us cannot do.

Most of the Sapeurs live in the Brazzaville district, where their daily income is just 18 pence. Yet they are still wearing designer suits worth thousands of pounds from brands such as Versace, Prada, Armani and Gucci. 

Cheap clothing is not an option and wearing clothes made from poor quality materials and craftsmanship will disrespect the culture. You may be wondering how they can wear designer clothing when their income is so low. Well most of them buy second hand and share their suits and accessories among members. 

Others rely on relatives abroad to send them designer branded shoes and accessories. However a large proportion of the group are dependent on shoplifting gangs across Europe, who will send them the latest designer suits at a much cheaper price. 

This fashion possessed group go for the newest, dashing and adventurous designs. Although there are a few shops on Brazzaville, the Sapeurs prefer their clothing from the home of the brands.

"Cheap and badly made clothing is not an option"
"Cheap and badly made clothing is not an option"

They prefer their clothing from the direct stores from shops in Paris, London, Germany and elsewhere. Their average yearly income is £60, yet they dress like multimillionaire fashionists. 

A Sapeur will put eating and sleeping after the priority of style. But he has to look dapper in his clothes, not just for his physical appearance, but to feed his souls and free his mind. He does not need to talk when he enters the room, his clothes must do the talking. They are fashion perfection personified. 

The Sapeurs have shown us that Money does not buy happiness. The Sapeurs have shocked us with their dramatic colourful and stylish lifestyle, and have showed us that expressing yourself is what life is about no matter where you live. Expression is key, expression is freedom, and expression is fashion.

"Expression is key, expression is freedom, and expression is fashion"
"Expression is key, expression is freedom, and expression is fashion"

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