Dorothy Vacance

Ayano “Gon” Nakayama of Dorothy Vacance transforms old men’s dress shirts into high fashion

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I first “met” Ayano Nakayama of Dorothy Vacance when a JS photographer shot her at the rooms LINK fashion show back in 2010. When I noticed that she was a designer, I checked out her work and immediately fell in love.

Nakayama, better known by her nickname Gon, has a stack of some 200-300 men’s dress shirts at her home and magically transforms these one by one into small fashion masterpieces. This is remaking done in the contemporary manner, making something totally new and unique out of something old and bland.

Soon after checking out her work I contacted her and we slowly became friends. Last year June and August I interviewed Gon about her origins, inspiration and way of thinking. I got a lot of great material that I eventually managed to whittle down to a 15 minute video clip.

Gon’s charming personality truly shines in this clip. This is Gon as I know and love her.

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Gon at work

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The Dorothy Vacance shop and gallery in Tokyo’s Ota-ku

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Gon with Canadian designer Daphne Mohajer

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Ayano "Gon" Nakayama of Dorothy Vacance as Janis Joplin

During Halloween, Gon often dresses up like a woman she admires. Here she is dressed as American singer and songwriter Janis Joplin

The Wizard of Oz Original Poster

The Wizard of Oz had a major influence on Gon’s thinking. It even gave birth to part of her brand’s name, Dorothy Vacance

Promotional flyer for Dorothy Vacance

The flyer for the opening of the first Dorothy Vacance shop and gallery on April 16, 2011

Promotional flyer for Dorothy Vacance

Flyers for Dorothy Vacance events

Promotional flyer for Dorothy Vacance

Kjeld Duits About the Author

Inspired by the stunningly creative street fashion that exploded on the streets of Tokyo and Osaka in the late 1990’s, photo-journalist Kjeld Duits launched JAPANESE STREETS in 2002. This makes JS one of the first fashion blogs on the net, and the very first to cover Japanese street fashion.

Recent articles by Kjeld Duits:

Comment (日本語もOK)

I loved it. Thanks so much for sharing this.
This is important to me since Gon was one of the first japanese designers I started to follow and get interest in. It’s nice to get to know more about her.
Gon rocks! \(_)/

Jan 10, 2012 (4428 days ago)

@Maria: Glad you liked it!

Kjeld Duits (author)
Jan 10, 2012 (4428 days ago)

Stunning. Here, I see shirts by a overpriced label Haute Hippy and it is nothing much to look at. Her work is fabulous. Thank you.

Tragic Angel
Jan 11, 2012 (4427 days ago)

@Tragic Angel: Yes, Gon creates amazing work. You can see that she loves doing what she does.

Kjeld Duits (author)
Jan 11, 2012 (4427 days ago)

What a wonderful work!!! I am truly amazed! ♥

Jan 19, 2012 (4419 days ago)

Amazing, amazing! I love her work, and the video was so great, I watched the whole thing. What I love about Gon’s style in particular is it is very tasteful, avant-garde, and unique, but I feel like it is also totally her. She doesn’t seem to defined even by Tokyo trends, but stays true to herself, and it works very, very well for her!

Lactose Intoler-Art
Feb 6, 2012 (4401 days ago)

@Lactose Intoler-Art: Yes, I think you have hit the nail right on the head there: very tasteful, avant-garde, and unique but also totally her and independent from any major trends influencing the Tokyo fashion scene. I love Gon’s work. She has managed to bridge the gap between other visual art and fashion, but in such a way that the results are actually wearable.

Kjeld Duits (author)
Feb 7, 2012 (4401 days ago)

I fell in love with her “tie collared shirt”

Mar 7, 2012 (4371 days ago)

Hope all is well with your designs.


Delilah Flores
Feb 19, 2022 (735 days ago)

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