Sape Fashion

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This chapter draws from the Congolese cultural movement known as La Sape (an acronym for La société des ambiance’s et des personnes éléganges) to understand the ways Alain Mabanckou’s novel Black Bazar exposes and subverts the reading practices to which his novel will be subjected. Below you will find additional selected resources that illustrate particularly well the main tenets of La Sape and one of the main fashion-related practices: the danse des griffes or “dance of designer labels.”

French- and English-Language popular media representations of Sape:

Juliette Lyons’s short article “La Sape: An Elegance that Brought Peace in the Midst of Congolese Chaos” (Le Journal International, 12 May 2014).

Hector Mediavilla’s photo book S.A.P.E. (2013), with an introduction by Alain Mabanckou.

A 25-minute documentary by RT Documentary

A 100-second Guinness advertisement in English showing Congolese sapeurs getting dressed and performing danses des griffes: