Daphne Javitch is effortlessly cool, ambitious, and friendly, and her home office reflects that. Walking into her apartment, you’re immediately invited in by the space – it’s both intriguing and relaxing. Daphne always loved theater and art, so she decided to pursue a degree in Theater and Art History from NYU. After working as a costume designer for some time, Daphne realized that she wanted more creative control over her work. So she set out to create her own business where she could have input on every aspect of the product. On October 10, 2010, Daphne launched her underwear line TEN at the Opening Ceremony. The designs are inspired by style icons of the 1960s and ’70s such as Diane Keaton and Jane Birkin with the goal to create “perfect cotton undies.”
In addition to being a nurse, Daphne is also a creative consultant for Theory and takes on the occasional styling job. This season, she is expanding TEN with a capsule clothing collection in Japan and through a collaboration with A Détacher – one of her all-time favorite designers. Levo discovered that in the middle of all the exciting things happening, what is most needed sometimes is a break to have an apple and chat with a friend.
Education: Theater and Art History at NYU.
Where are you from originally? The Upper West Side.
What was the original inspiration behind creating TEN? The reason I was wearing children’s underwear is that I couldn’t find any regular soft cotton ones that fit well. I wanted something that would remind me of my childhood, but luxurious at the same time. I’m highly influenced by the style of my female spirit icons from the ’60s and ’70s—Diane Keaton, Jane Birkin, Goldie Hawn, Joan Didion. They were all straightforward women of the class who I believe epitomize sexiness.
Once you developed the concept, what were the next steps in turning your idea into a reality? After I fine-tuned the TEN concepts, I asked friends and colleagues for help and guidance so that I could make progress. I am grateful to be a part of such a supportive community of people. I would have been lost without their help in starting my business.
What is the design process behind TEN? We design and sew all ten pieces in the USA. To keep our styles fresh, we use images to change up each collection’s look on our website. This way, visitors can explore the different ways that TEN expresses itself.
Who is the TEN women? The idea was to create innocent-looking undies that would also be suitable for an impromptu sexy situation…The TEN girl is effortlessly sexy.
Before launching TEN: I worked as a costume designer for film and theater from the age of 19 until I was 29.
You are also a design consultant for Theory—what does that entail, and how did you land this position? I work closely with the design and sales teams at Theory, providing concepts, inspiration, trends, styling, and editing collections. It’s an exciting job that I’m genuinely passionate about. Being a part of the Theory’s evolution is very gratifying.
Describe your office style in a few words: Clean and balanced with a dash of cartoon.
Style Icon: The latest style icon I’ve found is Paula Cooper.
Next item you plan to splurge on: It’s a surprise for someone close to me, so I can’t ruin the element of surprise!
Favorite store for bargain pieces: The men’s department at Uniqlo, as well as Cos (which hasn’t come to the U.S. yet but I believe will be here in two years).
Go-to brand for heels: Manolo Blahnik.
One staple piece every professional woman should have in her closet: A lint roller is a must-have for anyone who wants to keep their clothes looking neat and clean.
A day running TEN looks like: We’re always developing new styles and colors, sending out samples, doing press, and collecting inspiration. But during market weeks, we set up sales appointments with existing and new stores to show them the collection.TEN x Ron Herman is a ten-piece clothing capsule for the TEN girls, and that’s when we start meeting with our Japanese collaborators to discuss design and merchandising.
Levo’s shoot took place at your amazing apartment in the Lower East Side.
What are the positive aspects of having a live/work setup? Any negatives? I enjoy working from home as it allows me to show my collection more. TEN is very much in line with my perspective, and having furniture in my apartment further emphasizes that. The downside is remembering to take breaks and establish personal boundaries so I don’t work myself too hard!
Favorite part of your job: When I meet a girl who loves and wears TEN.
A fifteen-minute break from work entails: I just ate an apple and now I’m going to chat with a friend about unimportant things.
7:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.: You can relax and de-stress by doing yoga or going for a run.
Currently reading: Are You My Mother?
Favorite magazine: The World of Interiors and Apartamento.
Do you cook? If so, what is your favorite recipe? I love making salads, but anything my boyfriend cooks is even better. He’s my favorite restaurant!
Favorite neighborhood spot to grab coffee: Blue Bird.
Favorite city: I can’t choose between New York, LA, and Tokyo. They all look amazing!
Next place on your travel list: Greece.
Best piece of advice ever received: Proceed.
My mentor: Brigitte Lacombe.
In 10 years: There will be balance!
Career wisdom for young professional women: Be the person you’d like to work with.
*Say hi to TEN Undies on Twitter @TENUNDIES.