How to get clothes made in Vietnam that you'll actually wear
Sure, there are a gazillion places in Asia where you can order a bespoke outfit, but the tailors of Hoi An, Vietnam are especially known for reasonably priced excellence. You don’t have to be ballin to get a whole new wardrobe, and it’s not uncommon for couples to outfit their entire bridal party in this gorgeous, cobblestoned town.
But back to you - maybe you need a dress for THAT party, a replacement for a much-loved pair of jeans or a rip off of a designer top you’ve been eyeing off at Zimmermann. Hoi An has got you in the tailor made clothing department. All tailors are not equally awesome, so read on to discover how to get clothes made in Vietnam that you will actually wear.
Pack your favourite jeans
Those jeans we mentioned earlier - make sure you pack them. Copying the design of an existing garment is much easier than starting from scratch, so throw in any faves that you’d like to get replicated.
Timing is everything
Unless you’ve found Aladdin’s genii, you won’t get your ideal dress/ suit/ bolero made within 24 hours. Hoi An is a gorgeous little place with a World Heritage listed Old Town, so hanging here for three to five days is guaranteed not to suck.
Chances are that you’ll need something taken in or lengthened a little, which may take another day to fix. Do the tailor thing as soon as you arrive to leave time for these tweaks - the cooking class can wait!
Research: locals and web surfing
Chatting to locals and wandering the tailor district is the best method of research. Be wary of recommendations from your hotel or tour operators, as they may be besties with a local tailor.
Strapped for time? Head to the internet and search for reviews of tailors in Hoi An. Choose three of the highest rated establishments and hit them up for a quote. These reviews can also be a good way to cross check local recommendations.
You don't need that ball gown
As you walk into a tailor you’ll be greeted by swaths of material and an over-efficient shop lady. She’ll have giant books that are filled with designs for you to browse through, and if you don’t know what you want she will suggest a closet full of things that will look sooooo pretty on you.
Having even a rough idea of what you want can save hours of time and save you from being inspired to commission a ball gown that you don’t need.
Good material will cost you more; this is (probably) not the over-efficient shop lady trying to scam you. If you find a killer dress design and ask the tailor to make it with cheap material, don’t expect the frock to fit and sit the way you want it to.
The tailor will tell you what fabric will work best with your design, although you don't have to take them at their word - shop around for quotes on the same fabric.
Play the haggle game
That extra time you’ve allocated in Hoi An will also come in handy for negotiating prices. Once all the details are locked down, the ability to walk away and “think about it” can be the final nudge that the seller needs to lower to your asking price. A few more things to ask for:
- Discounts for multiple items
- Unlimited fittings
- Satisfaction guarantee (usually only available at shoe makers' shops)
Alterations: don't be shy
Don’t be devo if you go back for your first fitting and find your dream dress is bagging at the collar or too long in the sleeves. Tailors tailor stuff, and they’ll be able to fix this as long as you are clear about what you want. Don’t be scared to ask them to take up a hem, or make your pants more tapered.
Share the love
Once the garment bag is stuffed in your suitcase, take the time to review your experience on line - whether it’s good or a little left of ideal, it will help those who come after you.
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