“Take a risk. Leave a legacy.” is the motto APERIL aims to inspire others with.
APERIL (@aperilshop on all social media) is a clothing brand created by a group of friends that sells streetwear and leisurewear. Its name came as a play on the words “apparel” and “peril,” a synonym for “risk.”
The team includes UNT alumnus Nick Hoang as the head of the brand, design management junior Danielle Lara as the creative director, UNT alumna Lauren Robertson as outreach and marketing and Dakota Nelson as an assistant.
“We’re leading on to inspire other people to take risks in life — good risks, of course,” Lara said.
The group started with Hoang and Nelson, who have been friends since the seventh grade. As Hoang went on to attend UNT, he met Robertson and Lara through UNT’s Filipino Student Association (FSA) and the organization’s dance team, Choreo Block.
“We met and I guess we vibed,” Hoang said. “ We just started working together in different aspects, like creatively – me and Dakota with music [and] we all did dance together.”
The brand got its start during the COVID-19 pandemic, launching its original collection in December 2020. Working solely during the pandemic, Robertson had to reach out to audiences through social media.
“In a perfect world, we would have been having events and maybe different showcases,” Robertson said. “But having to move online, it’s a lot of reaching out to people individually and reaching to people [who] we know to get the brand out.”
APERIL released the “Dreams” collection on Feb. 7 and is available for five days. The collection features the “URWU Think” T-shirt, the “Orchid Dream” crewneck sweatshirt, the “Living Dream” hoodie and a sticker sheet that can be purchased on aperilshop.com.
“We leveled up a lot from the first drop to the second drop, in terms of creativity from Dani, and the beats in videos by Dakota and Nick being the boss-man he is,” Robertson said. “I think that’s showing in the product we’re trying to sell.”
While providing insight into her designs, Lara said she combined a quote by Earl Nightingale, “You are what you think about,” with the well-known saying “You are what you eat” to convey a message that what you think about is what you will attract in life.
“When it comes to designs and the themes for each drop, something that we really wanted to stay true to is when you’re a creative, you don’t like being put in a corner,” Hoang said. “We really wanted to be able to create and express however we’re feeling at that moment, but in an inspirational way.”
The process of designing a collection is a collaborative effort for the communications team.
“I’m more than open to people suggesting things that they think would be great and that’s always appreciated for me because it’s a lot of pressure sometimes having to design a whole line,” Lara said.
To further the experience of APERIL beyond the clothing for their audience, the team has themed photoshoots along with video content for the products and behind-the-scenes.
“We don’t like to just make something and then put it out,” Hoang said. “We really like to make it a whole experience. Dakota makes the music, Dani makes the designs, we make videos [and] Lauren will be shooting during the actual photo shoot.”
What makes APERIL unique, as the team said, is the close-knit bond between each of the team members, giving it a family-like feeling.
“Since we are close, we play around a lot,” Robertson said. “So it’s a lot of fun, but when we’re serious, we’re serious. I love working with them, even though they get on my nerves sometimes. They’re all my friends.”
APERIL has received lots of support from family and friends, like Jasmine Nguyen, a business computer information systems senior, who knows Hoang as her “grand kuya” (an older brother within FSA’s family system).
“I know that they all are very passionate about this brand and have worked really hard just to get it started up and promote and market it,” Nguyen said. “Not only is the collection something that I would buy and want to wear, but my favorite thing is the work and passion that they put into it.”
The team says they hope to continue to grow and leave a legacy by becoming more than just a clothing brand.
“We’re very passionate about the clothing, and that’s what we want as the main focus, but we want APERIL to be big,” Hoang said. “If you look at Nike or Adidas, you don’t look at those brands as just clothing. You look at them as so much more.”
Featured Image: APERIL Creative director Danielle Lara speaks with owner Nick Hoang at a small cafe on Feb. 6, 2021. Image by Bri Morales