Fashion in the DRC and The Rules of Sapology

Media Diversified


by Angela Inniss

Bold, Bright and Brilliant; just a few words to describe the stunning prints and fabrics used in creating Congolese fashion.

(Picture by Lisa Clarke) (Picture by Lisa Clarke)

Unlike Western trends, Congolese styles are created to stand out from the crowd, making use of both vibrant hues and striking prints, reflecting African culture.

Traditionally,Congolese clothing is centred on the wearing of colourful materials referred to as ‘Liputa’. These types of fabrics are worn by both men and women, and can more often than not be found at the local market.  They are usually cut into strips from two to six yards in length, and to complete the look are typically worn with a complementing headscarf.

‘Liputa’ are sometimes also designed for different purposes, and aimed at certain audiences, for example paying tribute to a leader, marking a special occasion or at a sporting event.



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Sapeurs. Congolese sartorialism.

les Sapeurs…

Retrospective modernism

You have probably heard of them by now but do you know where this sub-culture’s roots come from?SAPEUR-3
This movement occured in the 1970’s in the Congo as a revolt towards the oppresive,strict regime of Mobutu Sese Seko which prescribed traditional clothing as the attire of no-choice.

There are strict rules of dress for Sapeurs: three colors are the maximum for an outfit and the status of style is increased by accessories, such as cigars, pipes, ties, glasses, and walking sticks.


SAPE –  The religion of style.

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