|Posted by republicofcongo25 on March 24, 2014 at 9:45 AM|
'The new Guinness ad featuring superbly dressed Congolese men has been getting a lot of attention since its release earlier this year.
The ad follows the men as they shed their working clothes and transform themselves into polished, hat-wearing, cane-wielding style moguls - because, as the narrator says, "in life, you cannot always choose what you do, but you can always choose who you are."
Costume designer Mr Gammon took 28 suitcases of elegant kit to the shoot with members of the Congolese Society of Ambianceurs and Elegant Persons (SAPE) - sapeurs, as they are known. The main idea was to be true to the sapeur look, but also, "kind of, heighten it a bit," Gammon says. "I wasn't redesigning them."
Photographer Per-Anders Pettersson who spent five days with sapeurs in Kinshasa in 2012 says the picture portrayed in the ad is pretty accurate.
The opening frame of the ad locates the action in Congo Brazzaville. Sapeurs exist both there and in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo - but the ad was actually shot in South Africa.
Hassan Salvador, seen in the ad sporting jaunty Lennon-style dark glasses, says he earns $1,000 (£610) a month working as a warehouse manager, and about 20% of that goes on clothes. Feron Ngouabi - who can be glimpsed wearing a kilt and tam-o-shanter - spends all of his earnings as a fireman on clothes, he says. Fortunately he owns two taxis, which bring in extra cash.
In the ad they wore a mixture of their own wardrobe, and Mr Gammon's.
Mr Gammon says he was "blown away" by the experience of working with these men and celebrating their look. "They may not be wealthy," he says, "but they are wealthy in spirit." '
You can watch the advert on YouTube