Pointe Noire, Republic of Congo is ambitious to be the next fashion capital of Africa. Their recent fifth edition Carousel de la Mode was great success at promoting African designers. Designers from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Cote d’Ivoire showed off their cultural diversity in their fashion.
Congolese fashion designer Adriana Talansi was in attendance, displaying her new collection called Identity. Identity, as the name implies, is inspired by her beautiful African culture.
“I think in fashion, we inspire most of the big fashion designers in the world. I think it is time for us to rise,” she said.
While Talansi fully embraces her cultural identity, she is not confined to her home continent. Her collection was featured in the 2017 edition of the African Fashion Week in London.
Ivorian-Lebanese designer Reda Fawaz known for his couture fashion captivated the audiences as well. Renowned musical artists like Serge Beynaud has been spotted in Fawaz’s creations.
Fawaz is also a world-renowned wedding planner who has made over 100 couple’s dream come true.
Pascaline Kabré, the event organizer, believes that the success of Carousel de la Mode is just another contribution to the history of African fashion. “Pointe-Noire will become the capital of African fashion, and that is my goal,” they said, “My other objective is to have more support for young fashion designers and models before they are given opportunities to go out to other countries,” said Pascaline Kabré, the event organizer.
The Republic of Congo is widely known for its vibrant unique fashion culture. Congolese people have a sartorial fashion culture called “La Sape” short for Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elegantes” (The Society of Ambiance-Makers and Elegant People). The French word for attire “sape”.
La Sape can be traced back to French colonization of Brazzaville and Kinshasa in Congo. In order to “civilize” the naked natives of Congo, they brought second hand clothing from Europe.
Young Congolese houseboys reinvented the European standards that were forced upon them and made it their own. Fashion was used a way to combat the imperialist oppression.
The Sapeurs make themselves appear as wealthy socialites even though they are ordinary people. It is not their socioeconomic status that makes them respected individuals; it is their ethos.
American singer can be seen paying homage to the subculture of Sapeurs in her music video “Losing You”.
In a sense, Pointe Noire has always been a fashion capital for Africa.