Inside Asia Tours: Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos

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Thursday, 31st July 2014

A guide to getting clothes custom made in Hoi An

With more than 500 tailor shops in Hoi An, this city in Vietnam is the perfect place to get yourself a new wardrobe. All items are made to measure in the style and fabric of your choice, which is perfect if you have an unusual body shape or always dreamed of an item you simply cannot find on the high street.

But before you go launching yourself into the nearest shop with a million ideas and lots of excitement, it is a good idea to plan your approach. This will help you to purchase a few fantastic items that are just right and just as importantly, you will not pay over the odds for them.

Choose a tailor

Until you stroll down the street in Hoi An you can't quite understand just how overwhelming the choice of clothes shops really is. It is a good idea to find out recommendations from over travellers about which tailors they have used, as this will give you a good starting point. Then look at items in the shop and see if they match your expectations.

There is nothing wrong with checking the stitching on the show pieces as this is an indication as to the tailor's skill. Picking the right shop is worth taking time over as this will ensure your garments are of the best quality.

Explain your design and choose your fabric

There are several approaches that you can take when explaining the design you require. It may be that you want a version of something that is on display in the shop or perhaps you have a photo or a magazine to show the tailor instead. Whichever way, take the time to explain what you want so you are not surprised with the result.

You will then have the exciting task of choosing the material to be used in your garment from the huge rolls of fabric lining the shelves. Think about how your choice will look on the type of dress, top or trousers you are buying, as it is not just the colour, but the texture and drape of fabric that is also important.

Ask for a fitting

Although most of Hoi An's tailors can get items made within 24 hours it is a good idea to go back for a fitting. Staff will measure you when you place the order, but suggesting you return a few hours later means you can check they are constructing the garment as you would like and will mean a perfect fit. This is what makes custom made items stand out from those bought off the shelf, so it is really worth the additional effort.

Negotiate a price

Always remember to agree the exact price, including taxes, with the tailor before they start making the item. Be prepared to negotiate by saying you are going to look elsewhere and use the purchasing of multiple garments from the same place to your advantage.

While you may be required to pay a small deposit before the work begins, do not hand over the final balance until you have received all of your clothes and are assured they are what you agreed. This will give you the power to complain if there were to be any problem.

Related news stories:
Why include Hoi An on your Vietnam itinerary? (29th September 2015)
Hoi An - land of lanterns (12th March 2015)
The definitive guide to the banh mi - Vietnam's infamous sandwich (4th March 2015)
The Huffington Post highlights reasons to visit Vietnam (7th January 2015)