Laku means happiness, which is the first thing that Yaeko Yamashita, the owner of the 1069 Valencia store, tells you on her website. It’s been on Valencia Street since 1993, but Yamashita, a fashion designer originally from Japan, first opened a store making and selling her work on Elizabeth Street in New York. The New York Times wrote in 1991:
There is no sign outside Yaeko’s shop, at 250 Elizabeth Street, near Prince Street. You will know it because of the Japanese woman sitting outside in a beach chair playing with her son. This is Yaeko Yamashita. Her English is a little rough, but her grasp of fabrics and shape is excellent, and her prices are unreal.
She makes little velvet dresses with patchwork bodices for under $100. A jeweled bustier, made from antique fabric, is $53 (matching slippers cost $50). A floor-length grosgrain silk coat is $120. (Open 3 to 8 P.M. every day but Monday.)
Nowadays Yamashita’s son has grown and finished college and she says she has little to worry about. On most days you will find her working in her Valencia store, stitching a new garment or playing the piano.