The Republic of the Congo in Central Africa is the place where poverty and fashion are the most important things in life. They say, when you die, the only thing you take with you is your clothes. They can buy land, so they can make a house or a business but they rather spend it on a pair of shoes.
“La Sape” comes from French and stands for “The Society of Ambiance-Makers and Elegant People” (Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes). Of course there is competition too, and now are Eco-Sapeurs creating clothing lines from what nature gives them.
The streets are a fashion show.
The Sapeurs of Congo comes back from history when the French mission was to civilize “nude” African individuals and the “uncouth”. They brought second hand clothes from Europe as a bargaining tool to obtain the devotion of the leaders. By the end of the 19th century their “houseboys” were the first because they might be given clothes rather than cash as damages for his or her work to adopt European modernity.