‘Every Congolese child is a sapeur. You shouldn’t ask when I became one. The point is that I’m still one. Some practice a bit and others practice deeply. I’m very deep in it. For us, clothing speaks. Fashion in general is out of fashion. One day it’s enormous rings, the next day they’re gone. La sape is beyond fashion; it’s like the earth. You’re born dust and you die dust. You’re born and we lose you as well.’
Some thirty years ago on July 22, 1985, Pierre Cardin sent nine young Chinese girls down the runway of his show in Paris, the moment marked the significant changes that had occurred in Chinese fashion and its encounter with the West, as well as offering a glimpse of the future of China’s industry.