151 Ludlow St.
New York, NY 10002
Eiko Berkowitz, the owner of Yu, collects Japanese labels. The afternoon we meet, Eiko is wearing polka-dot shoes, overalls, and a plaid Amy Downs hat. "When I was growing up in Japan, my mother wore a lot of Yohji, Issey, Commeaand I loved those things," Eiko explains. She came to New York in 1986, largely because she didn't like the social station of women in Japan, and opened Yu in 1997. A friend who worked at Yohji Yamamoto told her that a lot of customers had old Yohji they wanted to unload, and these rejects became Eiko's first stock. Though she has now expanded to include a score of A-list European designers ("Dries, VivienneaI'm very picky"), there are still plenty of Japanese frocks on the rack, including a Comme des GarASSons summer dress which costs about what it did when it was made in the early '90s. Though Gaultier and other designers in search of "inspiration" have swept through, buying with abandon, Eiko's favorite customers are young people: "I like to introduce them to these labels, but in an affordable way."


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