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How To Get Clothes Made In Asia

I recently returned from a trip to Vietnam, where I had a bespoke wardrobe made for less than $100. And here’s a confession: it wasn’t my first time.

Since then, I’ve received a surprising number of emails from people also considering a trip to Asia—must be because it’s one of the few places still relatively cheap in the face of the weak dollar—and wondering how to go about getting their own custom clothes made. In case you’re one of them, here are a few pieces of advice:

1. By far the best—and cheapest—place to have that three-piece suit whipped up is Hoi An, Vietnam. You can fly into Danang International Airport and pick up a taxi (for around $13) for the half-hour journey to the Seamstress Capital Of The World. Another alternative—and one a little easier to reach? Bangkok. Head for Rambuttri Road in the city center and you’ll have to fight the tailors off with a stick.

2. Shop around for a good deal before you commit to anything–most tailors have the same patterns and quality is fairly standard, especially in places like Hoi An. Bargain as far as you feel comfortable with, but remember to always keep it good-natured, and be prepared to agree on a reasonable middle ground.

3. Bring clothes with you that you already like and ask to have them copied. Failing that, bring pictures of pieces you want made. Most tailors have catalogs and magazines in their stores, which you can use as a last-ditch resource; remember, too, that bringing current fashion magazines you’re willing to leave behind can often knock a few bucks off the price.

4. Once you find a place you like, try and go with a bulk-shopping mentality; get most of your stuff made in one place, and you’ll both build a rapport with the store-owner, and probably be able to get a small discount on your stash as well.

5. Most tailors work incredibly fast; you’ll be measured immediately and then told to come back the next day. The most important thing to bear in mind is that this isn’t your final garment—it’s merely a first fitting. The tailor will expect you to have some issue with the piece, and will be prepared to make it longer, shorter, tighter or more fitted according to your direction. Be patient, trust that the tailor will make your adjustments properly, and know that nine and three quarter times out of ten, you’ll come back the next day to find a perfect piece.

6. Once you’ve agreed upon a price, never pay more than the deposit (roughly a third to half of the final cost); paying the entire amount up front is risky. In Vietnam, you’ll have the choice of paying in U.S. dollars or Vietnamese dong; many shops accept credit cards as well (though be warned that this can be awfully dangerous for your willpower!)

7. Take a few cards of a tailor you’ve had a positive experience with and pass them on to friends; competition is stiff, and they’ll appreciate you stumping for them. Keep one in your own Rolodex too–most tailors will keep all your measurements on file for at least a few years, so the next time you need a custom-made business suit, you’ll know exactly who to email. (My personal recommendation? Minh Loan Tailor Shop, 47 Hoang Dieu Street in Hoi An, Vietnam. You can contact them at minhloanshop@hotmail.com. Tell them the British girl with five new button-down shirts sent you.)

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Comments

NB
Reply

Wow! I had no idea this was even possible.

May
Reply

As a ridiculously short person who HATES shopping for pants…I’m writhing in jealousy at the moment.

I MUST do this when I go to Bangkok on my honeymoon.

Thanks for info. I shall use it as the bespoke wardrobe bible.

Michelle
Reply

After reading this, my destination priorities just changed (again). I can’t wait to go shopping for a tailor!

chirky
Reply

Better be careful, Holly. Unobservant readers may think that picture you posted is of YOU.

I’ll stick up for you, though. I have it on good authority that would’t wear pants like that. (Under normal circumstances, anyway.)

kat
Reply

holly this is fantastic advice! must go to asia. now.

many of my father’s suits are from his time in hong kong – during our trip back there in 97 (gosh..that was awhile ago) we went back to the tailor for more suits. we now get a christmas card from him as well!

since we were there for news years, i had a traditional cheongsam made and it was ridiculously cheap and sewn so quickly.

sigh. just need a way to get to asia now…

Rebecca
Reply

Great advice! I went to India in 2006 and brought along a couple of perfectly-fitting skirts and had them copied but with sari fabric. Specifically, I had them made in Auroville by the tailor near Ganesh Bakery.

katie
Reply

From experience, I must say you’ve given the very same or better advice that I would’ve given anyone else! The tailors are , but you have to know what you want and more importantly, HOW you want it. A personal recc for a tailor’s in Bangkok:

Crown Tailors
http://www.crowntailor.com

Make sure you know what you want and I’m sure they can have it done for you!

David
Reply

If you are going to be shopping for Custom Tailor Clothes for Ladies and Gents you must go to Savile Row Tailor Thai Silk & Boutique. They are an excellent Tailor shop in Bangkok Thailand. If you want the best Tailor made clothes in the world on go to this shop and you will get the best tailor made clothes and the best service. 118 inside rose hotel,suriwong road,bangkok 10500.Thailand .contact 022354427,0858441307.Email savilerowfashion@gmail.com. Savile Row Custom Tailor are excellent. I go to Bangkok every chance I have to go. If you want make sure to tell them KING DAVID told you about Savile Row Custom Tailor they are the best make sure to go only their for your Custom Tailor made clothes.

RobThomas
Reply

Hey the advice given by holly is all good. I wont be visiting the shop that she recommends since will be going to thailand. My friends has recomended me to Excelsior tailor in downtown Bangkok since the company has the uniform suits and dress made here. They are pretty popular in Bangkok so gotta try them.
Cheers,
Rob

Seanhilder
Reply

yeah have been to Excelsior in Patpong road. Very good fabrics and fair price and world class fabrics. Gotta try them out.

jack
Reply

I had my suits at Tailorprofashion inside somerset lake point sukhumvit soi 16,It is the only tailor in sukhumvit soi 16 and had my tuxedo vest and bow tailored from them. They provided me with 2 fitting and the final product was met with my requirement, Cheers to them, Anyone staying in soi 16 should give them a try.contact tailorprofashion@gmail.com

adnys
Reply

I have used SAvile Row on Suriwong Road, Inside Rose hotel, for the last 10 years, and have had no complaints. He does a good job and at a decent price (no haggling), he has a fairly decent selection of imported fabrics.

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Reply

Savile Row Custom Tailor are excellent. I go to Bangkok every chance I have to go. If you want make sure to tell them KING DAVID told you about Savile Row Custom Tailor they are the best make sure to go only their for your Custom Tailor made clothes.

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vanessam
Reply

we went back to the tailor for more suits. we now get a christmas card from him as well! since we were there for news years, i had a traditional cheongsam made and it was ridiculously cheap and sewn so quickly. sigh. just need a way to get to asia now…

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Korean clothing
Reply

Yes, you need to be careful when dealing with such sites. I usually shop at Korean Japanese clothing for clothes from Asia. The site sells wholesale clothing made in Asia countries, mostly in China. The price is just reasonable for the level of quality that satisfies you.

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