The contemporary African tribes: from SAPEURS to Afropolitan

Comments (0) Art & Culture, Fashion


From SAPEURS to Afropolitan
Fashion is known, has always suffered from nostalgia for Africa, from trend books to runways, up to slip in the closets of all of us, Africa has always had a strong influence on the aesthetics of Eurocentric culture.
Strong shapes and colors filled, awaken that hot dozed off soul, under the dust of everyday life, thanks to the music, past, present and future, and lines of clothing that is always a source of inspiration.
Not surprisingly, the new campaign of Valentino is set entirely in the heart of the continent, in Kenya, and is signed by Steve McCurry, photojournalist genius of portraiture.
Walking through the various African countries we encounter hordes of young talent, they have created a new language, the way they communicate, through music, fashion and design, new communicators who express themselves and their continent, often and for good reason, in raw and unsettling way.
Are Afropolitans, young and old with a particular style, reappropriate of their colors, geometry and contrasts that make Africa one of the most difficult and fascinating places on the planet, and express it all with the way they dress and live.
It is etymologically incorrect to define their hipster as it is the Caucasian them had stolen his clothes, and in this case we find it all smeared with bright colors, which are tied in geometry, worship of the hot country.

Especially SAPEUR, Super Dandy Africans, communities of people who dress with style, aesthetes who live in the poor suburbs of Congo-Brazzaville.
Many now have talked about them; many from their offices and newsrooms, calling their naively “trend”, but the first to have immortalized this new nature is Daniele Tamagni, Italian photographer who has clearly shown that this is ethics, religion and way of life, all in a photo book, titled Gentleman of Bacongo.
He was the first to define and classify photographically all the contemporary African tribes. Since 2009 this book has become a vector of the SAPE style, literally Society of Elegant People who make Atmosphere (Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elegantes).
This style, as the Afropolitan, born from the desire to regain their roots, mixing colors and classic shapes, with the abandoned clothing of militants anti-apartheid beginning 70s. In fact the other hub, in addition Bacongo, is Johannesburg, where the youthful ferment is that of a big city with a clearly distinct and colorful style.
Performers, artists, photographers and designers, are succeeding more and more to pass national boundaries and become influencers, much thanks to the internet and so much attention that their creativity has drawn within their borders.

From continent to continent fashion it unites and becomes method and ethics as well as aesthetics, just like for fashionistas, even Sape living for their style.

The origin

They learned the elegance Eurocentric by European immigrants in the Congo, making it his own, tying it in an increasingly more extreme in their canons. The protest has done so much against the oppression of Mombutu dictator, who in the 70s tried to erase the piece of colonial history, expressing dissent and making it illegal to put jackets, shirts and ties, “advising” a national uniform.
The Sape challenging the regime, refused the uniform and continued to express themselves with their clothing, on the streets of poor city in the country, with their garish suits, bow ties and cigars, which I still do today.

The main canons

The first rule encloses three, color, color and color, well-coupled and never more than three in the same outfits.
Suspenders, only if you can frame even if only a small belly, something for a select few.
Fine suit = good posture, a sweat-stride, slow and light, allowing everyone to enjoy every single detail of the outfit

Ethics is aesthetics.

The Sape they are for the family inheritance, some aggregate of their own will, they are friendly and creative minds, deny the war and they are the banner of a peaceful world and very elegant.

The contradiction.

The Sape live in modest homes in a country that really knows the meaning of poverty, but they who are struggling to put together lunch and dinner, do not give up shirt or dress that often buy in installments, living from odd jobs, and if they they make Dandy for a fee for events such as parties, weddings or funerals. Carriers of style at all costs.

For many it is a trend, the Afropolitan or Sape, but the trend is fleeting, elegance remains, and the Sape they know something.

Img credits and copyrights: ilja smets

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