In the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly known as Zaire, 71% of the country’s population lives below the poverty line. Most of the country’s poor people live in rural areas and women are among the hardest hit by poverty.

Congo’s high incidence of poverty is partly due to the ethnic conflict that spilled over from neighboring Rwanda and an ongoing civil war between government troops and rebel groups in Eastern Congo



In Congo-Brazzaville, poverty doesn’t keep some fashion-conscious men to dress like wealthy dandies. They proudly walk around exhibiting their Kenzo, Armani and Yves Saint Laurent suits – and, most important of all – their Weston shoes made in France.

La Sape ( Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes) is a Congolese movement that unites fashion-conscious men who splurge money they don’t really have on designer clothes. They even take out loans for their dandy suits and accessories. They are local celebrities and enjoy being admired for their style and elegance.

Being part of La Sape gives them great satisfaction. They don’t mind renouncing comfort at home: they sleep on the floor and hardly have any furniture.



Photos and video: Courtesy of

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