When I think of high fashion I think of cities like New York, London, Milan and Paris. Just about every continent has a recognizable “fashion city” with the exception of Antarctica and Africa which is no surprise to me. The only thing glamourous about a fashion show in Antarctica would be 4 foot tall tuxedoed emperor penguins waddling alongside models strutting the catwalk in seal-skinned shirts designed by Bear Gyrlls himself. As for Africa, can we really blame consumers of fashion for doing a fly by over this continent? No other region has endured such an unspeakably bizarre combination of foreign thievery as well as foreign goodwill. Could this be the reason that my subconscious is filled with images of malnourished children in Duran Duran and ABBA t-shirts, camouflaged Ugandan rebels that remind me of the hip-hop group Killarmy, and groups of tribal people who make naked look more fashionable than anything Lady Gaga could garb herself in?
This notion of a poorly dressed Africa had to change for me. I called a Ghanaian friend of mine that informed me of Dupsies, but what really caught my attention were his stories of a people residing in a city named Brazzaville in The Republic of the Congo. These men who referred to themselves as ‘sapeurs’ belong to the Societe des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elegantes or La Sape (pronounced sap). Read about them here and here and here. These gentlemen not only widened my perspective about Africa’s sense of fashion, but gave me hope that perhaps one day America’s inner city youth would give up their atrocious sagging ways for that of these special Congolese men.
Well that does it for this post. I’ll leave you with Roberto Cavalli’s mens collection for Fall/Winter 2011. Brave suits, jackets, and neck scarves all with clean lines and interesting pieces to pump up your swagger.
Fashion-Word-Em-Up: You know you are truly alive when living amongst lions so dress like a gourmet meal