At Apoccas, we love stories of transformation. Meet Arlette Lee, the caped crusader of luxury style to have and to hold for generations to come.
ARTISAN BRANDS WE LOVE: ARLETTE LEE
At Apoccas, we admire people like us who have gone out on a limb to follow their true passion. We met Arlette Lee through the Ethical Fashion Forum and were instantly struck by the parallels in our respective stories. We both hail from finance, but have found our true calling in working with artisans for a brighter tomorrow. We were both compelled to create something that offered an alternative to the throw-away culture of cheap, disposable fashion.
Arlette left the world of finance three years ago to travel extensively. “It was an ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ soul search,” according to Arlette “then I had an epiphany that I wanted to be a buyer”.
Following this vision, Arlette undertook a 10-day meditation retreat in the Blue Mountains, “I was training the mind to be in the now and to let go of any negativity,” says Arlette. Her goal to become a buyer became even more focused. She knew that she wanted to work with natural fibres and with artisans she had met in her travels. The goal posts were raised and Arlette decided she would definitely become a buyer, but not for Fenwick’s or Neiman Marcus. Arlette was going to become a buyer at the grassroots level, because she was going to create her own label.
What began as a solo round-the-world trip, turned into an intensive period of research and development in Peru for the first prototypes of contemporary Ruana; an Andean style of cape which are made from 100% Alpaca wool – a fibre that is softer and more durable than cashmere. Without a doubt Arlette Lee’s Ruanas are a quality, luxury garment, but the other element that is integral to her brand is that each Ruana supports a community of artisan workers and their families.
Arlette Lee and Apoccas create two very different products, but are essentially similar in nature. Both brands create a fair supply chain with artisans who apply their skills to working with luxurious, natural fibres. The result: an understated treasure to behold and to be passed down through the generations.
As Coco Chanel once said, “Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity”.