Vietnam is famous for the quality of its tailors, and Hoi An is often considered as the hub of clothing manufacturing in the country. While visitors often pick up a dress or suit to take back home from their travels, even overseas Vietnamese prefer to have their clothes tailored in Vietnam, despite living in some of the fashion capitals of the world.
Proud of its strong traditions of handmade crafts, Vietnam has many skilled and knowledgeable craftsmen who can do everything from designing jewelry, making shoes to creating custom-made dresses. It even has its very own “Tailor Saint”, Nguyen Thi Sen, who was the 4th noble consort of King Dinh Tien Hoang, and is credited with teaching the skills of tailoring to the villagers of Trạch Xá (Hà Nội) in 979.
Nowadays, Vietnam has become one the top manufacturing countries with a variety of handmade clothes, and very famous designers who are well-known throughout the world such as Minh Hạnh, Công Trí and Đỗ Mạnh Cường. However, with their deft fingers and keen eyes, even a countryside tailor in Vietnam can create very precise clothing that fits like a glove for incredibly low prices. Immediate access to a variety of fabrics and materials across the continent means anything can be put together at a very low cost. Scores of tailors throughout the region stitch, sew, and cut fabrics to create replicas or custom pieces in as little as twenty-four hours.
The hard-working tailors are known as “Thợ May” in Vietnamese, and rather than create unique designs, they are specialists in re-creating clothing ideas provided by their clients. You can bring them any design that you have seen in a catalog or online, and in just a few days, they will have it re-made in exceptional quality. Most of the local tailors don’t even work from shops, rather they do it right at home, with the living room full of colorful materials, wardrobes and an array of sewing machines.The country is also well known for its material production, and most locals will first go to a separate store at the market to purchase the material for the clothing item, before bringing it to their favorite tailor to have it made up into that special birthday dress, summer skirt or business suit.
Many foreigners often have trouble finding well-fitting clothing in Vietnam, but you can drop into any tailor and have them create perfectly fitted shirts, pants, suits, and dresses for less than the cost of an “off the shelf” item at home. Not limited to that, you can even request them to make custom jeans and denim in the style that you prefer. For the big business meeting, interview or special occasion, you can choose any type of suit you desire from materials such as wool, linen and cashmere, while the ladies can order beautiful silk dresses to make them the envy of their friends
So, next time you need to get ‘suited and booted’, consider your local tailor to bring you into the height of fashion. There’s a big difference in seeing your clothing made right in front of you by a skilled artisan, rather than blindly buying items from a retail store, and you will be playing your part in supporting local craftspeople, who, for generations, have been plying their trade in the traditional ways!