I bought a book on Amazon called ‘The Gentlemen of Bakongo’ which was about guys in Congo Brazzaville who dressed like dandys. Basically after WW2 a number of guys came back to Congo with the latest French fashion. The trend to dress this way became ‘Sape’ meaning Society for Elegent Men.

I wanted to track these guys down myself. The suburb Bacongo had some civil unrest a few weeks before I went and 30 people were killed. Then I found out that the weekend is the best time to find them and I was there on a Thursday. Luckily.. I met Onella at a UN conference and she knew a guy who knew a guy who was one. So.. they came over the my hotel for a chat. I said I wanted to photograph them the next morning before I flew out. I said OK lets do 9am and finish at 10 then I can go to the airpot for a noon flight. Of course they turned up at 10am so it was an insane morning of rushing to check in then driving around Brazaville for some cool backgrounds. 

These guys were really cool to put on a show at short notice. I am putting together a care package for them. If anyone has designer gear they don’t use anymore let me know. I’m sending ties and pocket squares. I donated my suit to them when I was there already.

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