Photo: Eeny-meeny-miny-moe.

Tailoring

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Hoi An has become synonymous with tailoring and it seems every other shop in the UNESCO old town is devoted to selling you new custom duds. The tailoring process can be overwhelming. Where does one begin? Here’s our guide to tailoring in Hoi An.





Flashback to 2009: Hoi An’s reputation as a tailoring mecca was already flourishing and eye-catching samples of pretty frocks adorned storefronts. We wanted to make a dress. We did our research, went to the best, most reputable tailor shop in town armed with a photo, picked out the fabric and plunked down more money than a week’s worth of accommodation in Vietnam. It would be worth it, we told ourselves. The first fitting wasn’t quite right but it was fairly close to what we wanted. The second fitting was a regression – it actually looked worse and something was very off. At the third fitting, the staff assigned to us was anxious to get it done. Suddenly the salesperson who had been so sweet and eager when we started became bored, then argumentative and pushy, and with her help we reluctantly became convinced the dress was okay. We carried the dress around in our backpack for months and when we returned home, we never wore it.

All may not be as it seams when it comes to Hoi An tailors. Photo taken in or around Tailoring, Hoi An, Vietnam by Cindy Fan.

All may not be as it seams when it comes to Hoi An tailors. Photo: Cindy Fan

We’re older and wiser and now understand that a lot can go wrong with getting clothes made in Hoi An. The first question you should ask is “How much do I care if it’s not perfect?” If you just want a button down shirt and not an exact replica of a hot off the runway outfit, then practically any shop will do. But if you are more particular, read on.

The scoop Would it surprise you to know that those “tailor shops” aren’t really tailor shops? With very few exceptions, the store you order from isn’t doing the actual tailoring. Anyone can set up a shop. It’s as easy as buying bolts of fabric, displaying samples on mannequins, buying measuring tape. The sewing is outsourced to “workshops” (the polite word for sweatshops) or seamstresses at the market. They earn very little per piece, and quality and workmanship is their lowest ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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Popular attractions in Hoi An

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Hoi An.



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A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Hoi An.


What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Hoi An.
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