Highly wearable shirts and accessories at Dorama Vintage Boutique near the Kyoto City Hall (Photo: Hoyee Tse)

Kyoto's Dorama Vintage Boutique

Recycled clothing to suit your personality

Highly wearable shirts and accessories at Dorama Vintage Boutique near the Kyoto City Hall (Photo: Hoyee Tse)
Hoyee Tse   - 3 min read

Clothes shopping sometimes can be difficult when you cannot find items that will suit you. I am not referring to the body shape, but something more intangible like your own personal character and style. Everyone is unique so if what we wear reflects our own personality, we need to find a special boutique, either to offer a variety of styles or the one just suits you well. I prefer to look for vintage or in Japanese English "used clothing", and not be swayed by the latest mainstream fashion trend. It is also an environmental friendly choice to recycle clothes.

During my stay in Kaikoan, and perhaps inspired by the vintage atmosphere in the old Taisho and Meiji period merchant houses or machiya​ from the last century, I strolled around the area and looked for some vintage shops. Luckily I found the one which a Japanese friend had recommended to me called Dorama. It is a well-known vintage boutique among the young people in Kyoto. It gained its popularity with its good quality collection at reasonable prices. For me, good quality is the key for second-hand goods.

Unlike some other big cities, the quality of Japanese vintage clothing here is well above average. Dorama has products that you will hardly recognize as used, however, they are priced as such. The collection ranges widely from international brands like Adidas, Nike, Gucci, to more boutique designers like Jeremy Scott as well as local Japanese brands. Causal and sports wear were more common here during my visit, though they also have a few pieces of formal dressing. Some are made in US, others made in Japan or European countries in different periods.

The accessories are also fascinating: hats, caps, earrings, scarves, necklaces and brooches. A certain items may seem quite pricy. However the quality and wear-ability factors are very high here, making a purchase very hard to resist. Like the bronze and silver jewellery in the wooden cabin which are bright and not rusted with a crisp clarity in their design.

The location of Dorama can be a bit tricky as it is upstairs inside the building at the middle of a street. Being on a street with little signage, you need to keep your eyes wide open to see the building floor guide, or better still, print out the map attached to this article. A tip I can give you is that it is located at the street straight on the left of Kyoto City Hall. (assume when you are facing North towards the City Hall building and Shijo is at your back.) It is about 5-minute walk with no turning or twisting, and then you can find this lovely vintage boutique.

Hoyee Tse

Hoyee Tse @hoyee.tse

Art, architecture, comics and fashion, every aspect of culture is fascinating. To me, the interplay between innovation and tradition is the greatest attraction of Japan.