Aprelle Duany left her life in New York to move first to Juba with her South Sudanese husband and now Nairobi. She wants her new luxury accessories brand to reflect this journey, she explains that “the experience I’ve had in Africa is different from what I thought it would be….the Western perspective of Africa is horrible, you see starving children, you see famine, you see devastation so that’s what I thought Africa was.” Though Juba was a challenge it also enabled Apprelle to focus on what was really important to her and ultimately led her back to her “passion for fashion”.
This passion is now being pursued in Nairobi, which she “just fell in love with”. For Apprelle one thing that drew her to this city is its mix of people she says “when I’m somewhere like Art Caffé there’s such a diverse mixture of different people, ethnicities, backgrounds.” Her eldest daughter’s best friend is a young Japanese girl and her younger daughter spends her days with a German friend. Watching her children learn about new foods to eat and ways to celebrate, its is a different story to her upbringing. She explains that “I grew up where I’m only around my family all the time, people that look like me, talk like me with the same experience, same mentality.” Apprelle feels that its Nairobi’s “type of atmosphere that will lead us to have a better world. People have more tolerance for each other because you’re already been exposed to different things.”
Nairobi also offers a fertile ground for her career ambitions. It is a combination of a developed city with opportunities but also a market, which is not saturated yet that is so valuable for her. Two years working as the CEO for the clothing line Kiko Romeo taught her about East African consumers and the East African market, she also built up strong networks in the region. AprelleDuany is an African inspired brand and will continue to have strong roots in the region focusing on East African consumers and manufacturers.