San Francisco is the land of “ah” and one of these “ah’s” belongs to Laku, a small but unfaltering shop to be considered a Pied Piper for entrepreneurial aspiration.
Located on the corridor tagged as the historical Liberty Hill District, in the heart of the Mission, Laku is sandwiched between a sushi bar and a sidewalk cafe.
Laku, which means happy in Japanese, is an original indy of the vintage/design/natural fabrics era that began to surface in the early nineties due to a discreet protest by discriminating locals who refused to succumb to the new wave trend of shopping discounters, roll-out stores and catalogue companies.
To this day, Laku remains steadfast. Owner Yaeko Yamashita, a fashion designer originally from Tokyo, first established herself in New York, then moved to San Francisco to launch Laku. Yaeko has an eye for re-invention with a keen sense of style.
She can mix fabrics and combine embellishments to create a breathtaking result, not an easy or learnable task. Yaeko’s talent is a gift and she remains eager and passionate to pass on her creations to appreciative clients. The beautiful hostess slippers and children footwear tend towards whimsey and at the same time can be classified as chic.
On a recent visit, Yaeko was rubbing a wide magenta bracelet, wiping off smudges while considering its fate.
Who knows, by now it may be wrapped in fabric with small rosettes attached or perhaps covered with grosgrain and decorated with crystals. Whatever the end result, it will be one of a kind and fabulous.
There are sewing machines set up and at the ready for the next burst of inspiration.
The project might begin as charming, moving on towards quaint and ending up as lovely but it will always be a work of art and well worth passing on to the next generation of fashionistas.
Don’t miss the gathering of well dressed bunnies just waiting to be included in an Easter basket medley.
FYI, the translation of Laku from Japanese to English = Happy
Laku is located on 1089 Valencia St. in San Francisco. 415-695-1462 or www.lakuyaeko.com