The collection dropped just around the time the group was celebrating their journey which began 5 years ago. The brainchild of Congolese-Canadian musician Pierre Kwenders and streetwear designer Hervé Kalongo, Moonshine Collective was born as a monthly party that would bring the African dance music of their childhood, the sounds that became part of their essence, to their present home of Montreal. Since then, the Moonshine party has become a highly reputed event for the Montreal underground. They came together around the time Kwenders was preparing to tour Europe in support of his debut album, Le Dernier Empereur Bantou. The album introduced his exclusive take on Congolese rumba. Kwenders, an independent musician at the time, was looking to finance his tour and suggested to Kalongo who he had been friends with since childhood, that they throw a party to kick off the tour and Kalongo’s clothing line. The duo and their friends were longing for a club experience that pandered to the contemporary African sounds that they loved listening to and so decided to take matters into their own hands and create these types of sounds themselves.
Fast-forward to the present time, the crew is now composed of musicians, beatmakers, dancers and visual artists. On the first Saturday after every full moon, their parties make more than a thousand partygoers converge in a building whose location is only disclosed via text message. Attendees get to enjoy a diverse mesh of sounds and visual installations screening over floating comedy masks, live drummers and a trumpet player. In the few years since they began, the talented crew of artists and managers have forged profound relationships with DJs from different parts of the world, establishing a connection that brings to the city of Montreal to share their story and sounds. Their line-ups have featured names such as Branko, Mo Laudi, Win Butler, Kaytranada, Dam-Funk, Double Dutch and many more. Though widely referred to as “Afro-beat,” Moonshine brings together artists that are often genre-defying who will have you you dancing to a diverse selection of music. The team continues to push its boundaries and have impressively hosted parties in cities such as Los Angeles, Paris and Santiago, Chile.
With such artistic success, the crew decided to dip its toes in the vibrant world of fashion as seen with their commemorative capsule collection Internationale Sapologie. The group pays homage to the La Sapes with dynamic touches of colour and extravagance drawn from the French-Congolese movement Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes and gives it a streetwear twist. ‘With this capsule, we wanted to pay homage to La Sape by creating something that Papa Wemba or Douk Souga would wear if they were still around,’ says Hervé Kalongo.