7 THINGS TO KNOW BE­FORE BUY­ING CUS­TOM CLOTH­ING IN VIET­NAM

In­ter­ested in get­ting cus­tom cloth­ing in viet­nam for your­self? Here’s all you need to know

Marie Claire (Malaysia) - - Contents -

Hoi An is on al­most ev­ery trav­eller’s Viet­namese bucket list; prob­a­bly for be­ing a beau­ti­ful and his­toric town with bright­ly­coloured lanterns lin­ing its at­mo­spheric streets. For many, one of its main draws is the prom­ise of cus­tom-made cloth­ing at bar­gain prices. But with hun­dreds of shops of­fer­ing sim­i­lar ser­vices all vy­ing for your business, how do you know how and which tai­lor to choose? Where will you get the best deal? Who of­fers the best qual­ity? Here’s your essential guide to buy­ing cus­tom-made cloth­ing in Hoi An.

DE­CIDE WHAT YOU WANT BE­FORE YOU GO

Get­ting cus­tom-made cloth­ing isn’t like going to the mall where you can take your time and browse. If you walk into one of Hoi An’s tai­lor shops with no ideas about what you want, you will find your­self in a world of trou­ble. Go in com­pletely clue­less and they will be happy to sit with you for however long needed, scrolling through Pin­ter­est, cat­a­logues, or on­line shops. But at the end of the day, this is a business and they will do their best to con­vince you that you need a whole new wardrobe in an ef­fort to get more of your money. It can get over­whelm­ing and out of hand very quickly. De­cide what you want be­fore you go and stick to it, rather than get dis­tracted and waste your time look­ing over items you have no interest in.

BRING PHO­TOS FOR REF­ER­ENCE

You are en­cour­aged to bring pho­tos of what you have in mind so that both you and the tai­lor are on the same page as to what it is you want. However, be cau­tious when show­ing any­thing that may in­di­cate the piece you are look­ing to copy is from a top de­signer or the price is bound to sky­rocket. For this rea­son, it’s also best to stick to cloth­ing with­out ob­vi­ous lo­gos. Take screen shots on your phone of just the item you want, and crop out any de­tail that may in­di­cate where it’s from, in­clud­ing the source URL.

NOT ALL SHOPS OFFER THE SAME QUAL­ITY There are over 700 tai­lors in Hoi An; some live up to stan­dards and pro­vide beau­ti­ful gar­ments that are well­made and us­ing qual­ity ma­te­ri­als. Oth­ers treat the ex­er­cise as a cash grab and will send you away with barely-held-to­gether pieces that look nothing like what you wanted. So how do you know where to go? Ask around – other tourists, the staff at your hotel, read up on on­line re­views. I would also avoid going with any­one that ap­proaches you on the streets (many of these ven­dors come from the Cloth Mar­ket). Re­mem­ber, the best shops don’t need to go in search of cus­tomers, cus­tomers go to them.

FOR BEST RE­SULTS, YOU NEED TIME

Al­low for some time to make sure that things can be done prop­erly. The in­tent is to have the cloth­ing fit you per­fectly, and this takes more than one fit­ting – some­times as many as four or five to get it right. Do your­self a favour and al­low at least three days for the process. There is plenty to see and do in and around Hoi An while you wait. If some­one tells you they can have it ready in a day (or less), re­mem­ber the pre­vi­ous point about qual­ity.

DO SHOP AROUND

There is a lot to con­sider when it comes to cus­tom­made cloth­ing. Qual­ity is ob­vi­ously important, but so are cost, ma­te­ri­als and your overall im­pres­sion of the business. The most rec­om­mended tai­lor may not be worth your time if they don’t treat you kindly. Or, you might get a great price for the dress you want made, but not like any of the ma­te­ri­als on offer. It is worth your time to visit a few dif­fer­ent tai­lors, dis­cuss costs, check out avail­able ma­te­ri­als, look over de­signs and get a feel for the tai­lor them­selves.

BE FIRM AND SPEAK UP

It’s al­ways great to have a sec­ond opin­ion but ul­ti­mately, it is you who will be wear­ing the clothes, so you must be com­fort­able in it. Sure, that low neck­line might be sexy, but if it’s some­thing you hoped to wear to work, ask them to raise it. You are pay­ing to re­ceive an item that is meant to be made to your ex­act pref­er­ence and stan­dards – don’t let any­one talk you out of your wants and don’t leave un­til you are sat­is­fied with the end re­sult!

ED­U­CATE YOUR­SELF ON THE PRAC­TICE

Qual­ity, cost and cus­tomer ser­vice are all important parts of this process. Above all that, there’s some­thing else you need to con­sider: The tai­lor’s work prac­tice. As the pop­u­lar­ity of cus­tom cloth­ing has grown, so has the use of sweat­shops. Many of these so-called tai­lors actually source out the work to over­worked and un­der­paid lo­cals, in­clud­ing chil­dren.

How do you avoid this? It’s not easy. Again, do­ing your re­search ahead of time will help. Con­sider costs; if the price is too good to be true, it’s prob­a­bly not an eth­i­cal business. Busi­nesses that do the work on-site (i.e.: have a sewing room or have peo­ple work­ing around you) are usually a safer choice. From per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence, I can rec­om­mend BeBe Tai­lors as a qual­ity choice with eth­i­cal business prac­tices.

Get­ting a piece of cus­tom cloth­ing is one of the best sou­venirs to bring home from Hoi An. Try out these tips to help you en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence.. ZAFIGO IS A WEB­SITE DED­I­CATED TO THE WO­MAN TRAV­ELLER. IT OF­FERS GUIDES, IDEAS, TIPS AND IN­SIGHTS TO MAKE TRAVEL SAFER, BET­TER AND MORE IN­TER­EST­ING FOR WOMEN HEAD­ING TO ASIA AND THE MID­DLE EAST FOR WORK OR FOR LEISURE. READ MORE AT WWW.ZAFIGO.COM

Local tai­lor cuts fab­ric in his sewing shop in Hoi An

A seam­stress takes a quick nap be­fore re­sum­ing work.

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