DAUPHINETTE IS A NEW YORK BASED BRAND, CREATED IN 2018 BY OLIVIA CHENG. HER LINE IS CREATED USING RECYCLED FUR AND LEATHER, PLUS THE MOST MAGICAL VINTAGE AND ARTISANAL COMPONENTS. THE RESULT IS A JOYFUL AND EXPLOSIVE COLLECTION, MADE OF UNIQUE AND IRRESISTIBLE PIECES. WE INTERVIEWED OLIVIA AND ASKED HER TO TELL US HOW DAUPHINETTE WAS BORN AND WHAT MAKES HER HAPPIER WITH HER WORK, THAT SHE DEFINES “A CONVERSATION BETWEEN HER MIND AND HER HEART”.
Dauphinette is a young project, created in 2018. How was it born?
Dauphinette was born two years ago when I was alone in Paris. Walking through Le Marais, I found all of these incredible (and shopper-neglected) vintage fur and leather outerwear pieces in the lower levels of secondhand stores. I knew I had to give them a joyful, meaningful second life. As I began building out the brand, I developed a unique technique for hand-painting leather and textiles that produces extra-vibrant colors with wearable staying power, and brought in unusual components such as sliced fossils for buttons. Now and going forward, I hope Dauphinette can be a way for me to continuously innovate, create joy, and have a social impact through clothing.
When you find a vintage piece, how do you understand that is the right one?
I am not especially logical or methodical when searching for the vintage base pieces. I’m aware of how this sounds, but I just trust my intuition and feel when a piece is the right one for my vision. I also triple-check the quality and the seams. It’s a conversation between the mind and the heart!
How does living in a city like NY influence your creativity?
New York is an incredible place— culture and progress are continuously unfolding here, regardless of whether we choose to ignore these movements or participate in them. I think the continuous decision to participate supports my creativity. Living here, however, it is likewise important to focus on one’s own path of experience. It can be harmful to pay too much attention to what another person is pursuing, and their successes and failures. Logistically, being positioned in this city has allowed me to gain access to a lot more opportunities, and it provides the human and material resources to realize any aspect of this dream.
Dauphinette’s slogan is “the happiest outerwear on earth”. What makes you happier in your job?
Trying to create a positive human experience and conversation through clothing makes me happier. Creating things the right way makes me happy. In the past few years, many areas of society and politics have remained grim. We have to control what we can. It’s so exciting and liberating to think that the way we dress can influence our emotions, our empowerment, and the way we interact with ourselves and each other. With Dauphinette, I hope to create an experience that is escapist without being socially and environmentally ignorant.
Is there a brand or designer that influences you?
Clothing-wise I love vintage, but in my own designing I’m mostly influenced by food and travel and old art and my mom. I enjoy interpreting experiences unrelated to fashion onto clothing, such as the design from an incredible vintage vase or the taste profile of an excellent cocktail.
Your collection consists of unique pieces. Has it ever happened to you that you didn’t want to be separated from your own creation?
Yes. Always. I know these pieces like I know my friends! With that being said, however, I have learned that when it is time to let something go, you let it go.
Three keywords to describe your project.
Whimsical, Cheerful, Unexpected.
What is Dauphinette’s next step?
I’m currently developing SS20, which will be our first formalized collection. Seeing all the pieces begin to fit together, and the manifestation of everything I stand for design-wise and impact-wise, is one of the most incredulous experiences I’ve been able to have so far. I am deeply excited, but also quite nervous, to share this collection in the Fall. I feel like these pieces are a small extension of my heart, and I hope other people can see that as well when they view the lookbook.
Interview Maria Aversano