Nava Apparel started as the brainchild of Alwyn du Preez back in 2014, whilst he was travelling the world as a professional model. Whilst on these travels, it became clear to Alwyn that there was a serious shortage of quality shoes on offer. The main cause of this was due to the effects of mass production and the global rise in consumerism. Alwyn was also determined to showcase to the world, the talents of many artisans in South Africa by providing them with the opportunity to improve their lives as well as those of their families.

With this in mind, he started sketching and researching the components required for creating a quality shoe product and in fact resulted in him designing his own style of boot, now known as a Warrior Boot.

Upon his return home to Cape Town that summer holiday, Alwyn approached a local artisan shoemaker who helped him bring his first pair of quality Warrior Boots to life!

Alwyn’s vision for Nava Apparel was to create a beautiful pair of shoes with their own unique style and culture, that would last much longer than the average pair of overpriced shoes so commonly available today. These shoes would be able to be repaired as well as maintained rather than being thrown away or simply replaced, after only a few months of usage.

Therefore, the focus was on “Quality & Style, with a touch of difference from the norm.”

After designing, producing and wearing the first pair of Warrior Boots (now available in-store), this attracted the attention of more people than Alwyn had expected. At this point, he was still pursuing his modelling career in New York, when all of a sudden everything changed!

One day, after the third person in a row, had asked Alwyn where he had bought his boots from, he actually ended up selling his first pair of boots straight off his feet – to a complete stranger!

The old saying rings true in this case, sometimes you just have to “let your feet do the talking!”

It was this event that made Alwyn realise that Nava Apparel’s story was only just beginning. He immediately made the decision to end his modelling career and relocate back to Cape Town to follow his passion for design.

The mission was to create sustainable, quality products in South Africa using local, ethically sourced leather, African inspired materials, recycled rubber soles and employing local artisanal workers on a Fair Trade basis – thereby creating more jobs in his beloved country that so desperately needed the support.

It was here at the workshop where the name “NAVA” was conceptualised.

NAVAmeaning “beautiful – is a local slang term derived from the combination of a few of South Africa’s 11 official languages.

The origin and meaning of the word NAVA really struck a chord with Alwyn, as this is where he realised that everyone is beautiful and unique in their own way.

So in essence, we are all uniquely NAVA!

So not only did we end up making beautiful, great quality shoes but also products that have minimal negative impact on the environment. Hence we always strive to repair and maintain our shoes where possible and to replace & recycle old worn-out soles, rather than replacing the whole shoe. The Nava Apparel range has organically grown into other beautiful products too!

Beauty, Love, Care and ultimately Inspiration through action.

This is NAVA Apparel’s philosophy.


Please contact us here regarding any questions or enquiries for customisations.