R6133/9-16 Sapeur Outfit

Man's grey suit and accessories laid out on table

Sapeur outfit created and worn by Saidi Kanda (Museum Accession numbers R6133/9-16)

This outfit includes a grey suit with plus four trousers, a tartan hat and brown boots, created and worn by Saidi Kanda, Brighton based musican and Sapeur. He describes this outfit as ‘Nguo Za Masapel au Sapologist’ – the outfit of a Sapeur. The outfit was put together by Saidi as a millenium celebration outfit, which he wore to a Tanzanian cultural gathering in Northampton. Items were purchased from various vintage clothing shops in the UK between 1993 and 2006; the boots date from 1963. Some items were gifted by a family friend Mr Shearer, whose son Edward Shearer produced Saidi’s Ambush album. The hat was gifted by another Sapeur and friend Fiston Lusambo. Collected as part of the Fashioning Africa Project.

Creator: Styling: Saidi Kanda

Place: various

Date worn: 2000

At the timing of writing, professional photography of all of Saidi’s outfits has not been completed due to Covid 19. The image above shows the outfit when it was presented to the museum. Below are some of the accessories that make up the sapeur outfit. Saidi’s portrait was also featured in the Fashion Cities Africa: Brighton Stories display.

What is a Sapeur?

Saidi explains: ‘In Congolese they’ve got a name for people who like fashion a lot ‘Sapeur’… then people who can’t afford so much, but they create fashion, they call themselves ‘Sapologiste’’

In addition to collecting three looks from Saidi, Brighton Museum acquired a series of photographic prints by Italian photographer Daniele Tamagni, who became famous for his portraits of sapeurs.

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