Elevating the Image of Africa with African Luxury Line

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Today, Africa still has a strong stigma of poverty and starvation. Entrepreneur Aprelle Duany wishes to change this by introducing the world to the concept of African luxury. To this end, she founded African luxury brand APRELLEDUANY.

Hai Afrika talks to her to find out more about the ideas behind the brand.

 

APRELLEDUANY, an emerging luxury brand that encourages others to use their gifts and experiences to pursue their life's dream.

APRELLEDUANY, an emerging luxury brand that encourages others to use their gifts and experiences to pursue their life’s dream.

 

The Move to Africa

It was difficult to even consider moving to Africa from New York. From a Western perspective, you only see poverty, starvation, and sadness in the continent. At the time, I had just graduated from fashion school. I was excited about what opportunities were ahead of me.

But I was not excited about Africa.

Once we settled, I was able to see the beauty of Africa. The culture, language, heritage, and people were all so beautiful. I was able to gain a global perspective. I learned things about myself that I didn’t know. I was a lot more innovative, resilient and stronger than I knew.

Though it was difficult, living in Africa has been one of the greatest challenges of my life.  It afforded me a unique perspective. It has also given me the opportunity to master the skill of innovation. 

People say, “If you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere”. These people have never lived in Africa.

My experience changed the way I saw the world and what it had to offer. All my life, I had been wrong about the African experience. So I was challenged to investigate other areas where I could have been wrong as well.

 

Introducing the World to African Luxury

The luxury industry is full of change makers and influencers. I knew that I wanted to change the perceptions of Africa. To do so, my conversation had to be at the highest level of fashion: Luxury. I wanted to be part of the growing conversation to highlight and portray Africa in a positive light. 

APRELLEDUANY was born out of a sincere passion and the drive to show the world the true African experience. I want to expand the image of luxury. As a woman of colour, I rarely felt included in the full luxury experience, from inspiration to advertising.

While living in Africa, I thought it was a disservice to Africa that its beauty was rarely known. The true African story of beauty and heritage is often not told. I wanted to connect these elements with beautiful, investment pieces inspired by Africa. I wanted to introduce the world to African luxury.

 

APRELLEDUANY, born out of a sincere passion and the drive to show the world the true experience of African Luxury.

APRELLEDUANY, born out of a sincere passion and the drive to show the world the true experience of African Luxury.

Innovation for the Best of Both Worlds

I love to innovate. My life has been a story about innovation. I like taking difficult situations and turning them into positive experiences. My engineering background allows me to approach design from an engineering perspective, a problem-solving exercise.

My training in engineering and accessories design provides a foundation for me to excel in product development. When I design, I like to develop custom hardware and signature details to build my brand. I am very comfortable using innovative tools such as 3D printers and 3D scanners. These help to transform my concepts into tangible items.

I often think about my consumer and what she needs in her life. Many of my consumers are fast-paced, career-oriented influencers. My New York training coupled with my African experience create a brand that offers the best of both worlds.

 

Inspiration that Drives the African Luxury Experience

Inspiration is key to African luxury. Pioneers and trailblazers inspire me immensely. They are women who created a pathway out of nothing, and continued even without a clear way forward. I honour them throughout my collections by naming each of my products after a pioneer.

Our debut collection honoured such trailblazers as Maya Angelou, Wangari Maathai, Hattie McDaniel, and Miriam Makeba. My favourite bag thus far is the Maya Satchel. The classic and iconic silhouette lends itself to effortless elegance – a true African luxury.

 

The Cranberry Maya Mini is a great piece to add a pop of colour to your wardrobe for date night or ladies night.

The Cranberry Maya Mini is a great piece to add a pop of colour to your wardrobe for date night or ladies night.

A Global Market for African Luxury

Our buyers are career-oriented professionals. They are influencers within their networks. They are fashion-forward without being a slave to trends. They are confident. They love to travel. They take pride to curate their appearance. Most of them have a classic style and invest in value over trendy items that do not last through the seasons.

We have fans around the globe, which is very exciting. Within the next 2-3 years I would love to have established the brand on a global basis, as a leader in the African luxury industry. To do this, I strive to create quality luxury products that offers endless innovation.

Africa has the best to offer the world. Beauty and heritage are elements that can create a basis for luxury on the continent. Luxury is the sum of passion, skill, and innovation. To this end, I believe that African luxury has a lot to offer the world.
APRELLEDUANY is an emerging luxury brand that encourages others to use their gifts and experiences to pursue their life’s dream. While creating a luxury offering focused on innovation and inspiration we aim to expand the global image of luxury and elevate of the perceptions of Africa.