The Suited: Editorial
Born and bred in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Raphael Mukendi learnt the importance of his craft from a young age while under the guidance of his father, a self-made tailor in the village of Kasai. Despite the harsh conditions he grew up under, he has flourished to become the master tailor he is today.He creates fitted masterpieces for those who come to him. His suits are custom made, making the experience sentimental, proving once again that his suits are not just that, but an experience that reflects the clients character, personality and flair.
The culture and values of the La Sapeurs is more than evident in his designs. Standing out is their order of the day. Bright colours, flamboyant designs and dressing well makes the Sapeurs the men they are. For them, a suit is a form of expression. A way of life even for the poorest.
The political, financial and socio-economic struggle faced by most in this war-stricken part of Africa does not deter them from their way of life. Style is who they are and is in their blood. This has been this way for generations. The Sapeur culture transforms the manner in which they speak, act and interact with others.
Raphael portrays his love for this craft through his work. His childhood in the DRC has shaped him and the way he perceives a garment that can easily be taken for granted. He brings a dash of the La Sapeur style and infuses it with the needs of a dandy man in need of a ''one-of-a- kind'' suit. Men who wear his suits stand out from the rest. Pocket squares, the lining fabric, the fit, the buttons....
All these elements are blended to give an exquisitely stylish garment inspired by the client's personality and brought to life by Raphael. The result is an experience on its own. An engineer by qualification and a tailor by profession and passion, Raphael should be regarded an artist and his works of art should be celebrated.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ELIJAH SEMOSA @72_PHOTOGRAPHY
ARTICLE BY MALETSATSI MONAMETSI
SAMUEL MUKHUWANA @ICE MODELS JHB
SUITS BY RAPHAEL M