I am not going to apologize for not blogging much this month (at least for my decent track record so far) but between finishing papers/third round of midterms, writing for the student newspaper and creating websites for different student orgs, blogging was put on the back burner for a while. Still, all the while I kept up with some fashion-y pursuits, chief among them was trying to learn more about Le SAPE, which stands for en français "Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes". Jonathon Crisman talks a little more about the society and the rules here, should you be interested to go read a little more about the followers of Le SAPE, les sapeurs. Granted the book is not recent (circa 2009 I believe?) and the phenomena is quite old itself, but I only came across these men and their style two months ago through Lin (for which I am thankful for). I was able to get my hands on Gentlemen of Bacongo by Daniele Tamagni from the library and I truly am in awe of these men and their style.
There are many reasons for why I am so fascinated by them but I guess firstly just how well executed and put together the men are in general. They do not pale at all in comparison to the men photographed outside trade shows like Pitti. I appreciate the daring boldness of the colour choices and simultaneously am intrigued by the juxtaposition of the abject poverty of their environments to the expensive garments the individuals don. As a romantic idealist myself, it should be of no surprise that what I love most about the men and their style is the purpose behind it all. The clothes seem frivolous but that is part of the point les sapeurs are trying to make, in attempting to maintain high moral standards even in a war-torn country like Congo. How they are able to push for a serious social agenda while still looking so stylish and so full of swagger (in the best way possible), is surely laudable. Whoever said clothes were just 'stuff'?