R6133/17-24 Sapeur’s outfit

Burgundy velvet jacket and accessories laid out on table

Sapeur outfit created and worn by Saidi Kanda (Museum Accession numbers R6133/17-24)

This outfit includes a burgundy velvet jacket and red corduroy trousers, accessorised with a burgundy cap, bow tie, sunglasses and brown and cream shoes. It was created and worn by Saidi Kanda, Brighton based musican and Sapeur. He describes this outfit as ‘Nguo Za Sapologi’, the outfit of a top, unique and competitive Sapeur. This description applies to outfits worn in response to a sartorial challenge, either set by oneself or a competing Sapeur. Saidi put this outfit together for a Sapeur challenge in Brighton against another musician – a challenge that he won. The items were purchased in the US, Germany and the UK, some were given by a friend, some by his wife Nikki. Saidi also wore this outfit in a photoshoot to advertise his music and referred to this look as ‘a gentleman suit’, worn for drinks with friends or when taking his wife out for the evening. Collected as part of the Fashioning Africa project.

Creator: Styling: Saidi Kanda

Man and woman standing by a selection of men's clothes laid out on table
Saidi Kanda and his wife Nikki Jumanne at Brighton Museum, with Saidi’s three Sapeur outfits acquired by the museum.

‘Thank you so much for time you have taken to go deep into the culture fashion of Africa, many know nothing of the Sapeur and Sapologist group. It will educate many children to be who they are, that it is ok to be one who stands out in the crowd. Thank you for respect shown to my clothes I am a happy man.  ‘                                 
Saidi Kanda

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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