African fashion was recently highlighted in a Guinness beer television commercial. Even more surprisingly, it featured Congolese (Brazzaville) men promoting a strong message of personal worth and agency. As the narrator says, “with every brace and every cufflink we say, ‘I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.'”
The spot shines a light on the Society of Elegant Persons of the Congo, better known as the Sapeurs. This impeccably stylish club, made up of blue-collar workers who dedicate their off time to colorful fashion and effortless savoir faire, has drawn international attention in recent years as a bellwether of peacetime optimism and confidence in the Republic of the Congo.
These over the top clubs have attracted some attention for years (including a beautiful photography book), as the article points out, but this may be the first broad television exposure they’ve received. A short documentary is also linked from the Guinness advertisement’s YouTube video.