Atelier Delphine was launched in 2011 by designer Yuka Izutsu. Originally from Japan, Yuka is now based in Los Angeles and created her label to craft romantic, quality pieces for the modern woman. Yuka kindly answered some questions for us so we could find out more about her design process and inspiration...
Kinobi: Tell us about your background.
Yuka: I went to an all girls college in Japan to study world culture and philosophy, and worked as a sales person for Jill Stuart. Then I moved to LA to study English, but ended up going to fashion school (at FIDM) and then later to study Fine Art (at Art Center). Art Center is a very expensive school so I started working for a family-owned small brand and they raised me as a super assistant so I could do a little bit of everything; designing, production, sourcing fabrics, shipping, customer service, graphic design etc. I quit school but then the brand went out of business. All the other employees encouraged me to start my own label out of my experience.
What was the motivation behind starting Atelier Delphine?
All the nice people that I worked with. I met all of them during my previous workplace and they are still all with me. They are like my family and we have gone through really hard times together. They really think of me as their daughter. They make me dinner, work from home after business hours, bring me gifts. They say they have so much fun working for me. I am really lucky.
Can you tell us a little about your design process?
I do some sketches and take them to my sample maker's house where we mostly work on samples and the new collection. She gives me a lot of input to make the designs wearable and then I source fabrics in all kinds of ways. Sometimes I meet someone at the flea market, or I go to a fabric company's office to look for some. We make all the samples with similiar fabrics, put them on the fit model and then if that looks ok we make them with the real fabrics. I usually wear them for about a week and then we work on the fit.
Who/what are you inspired by at the moment?
I always love Luis Barragan's architecture and colours. Matisse, Picasso, Agnes Varda and Diana Vreeland.
What does a typical day at work look like?
Wake up at 8am. Start working at my sample maker's house or working with my factories until 4pm. Then work from my showroom or office. After 7pm I work with Japanese people who are in the morning (because of the time difference). Sometimes I wake up at 4am and call the fabric company in Italy to order fabrics. There is not a day that is the same.
Do you have any tips for aspiring designers? Anything you wish you had known at the start?
I did not know anything at the start. Even though I worked for my previous boss for a couple of years, now I always think everyday is an adventure, most things are new. But I always believe in myself. My workers, friends and family give me lots of support. I think you just have to make a solid decision to never give up.
What are you most proud of in your career to date?
I always go forward and have never gone backward. Not talking about my sales, but I feel like I gain something everyday and grow my brand in some way.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I see myself more clear - my styles, my life, everything! Right now I always have a solid plan, a direction to go. I push it so hard to make it visible on earth but always hit the wall and think, is this really what I really like? Then, six months later, it becomes different and I don't like it anymore. In ten years I feel like I will a more solid style and direction that does not move.
How do you like to spend your days off?
I just go to the beach and do nothing. Looking at the ocean or driving the coastlines is relaxing.
What did you eat for breakfast?
View our range of Atelier Delphine here.
Images by Atelier Delphine's instagram