So, you’re off to Hoi An and you want to get something tailor-made as it’s a rare treat that would never be affordable back home. It’s going to be cheaper and better than the suits you normally buy off the peg. But when you get to Hoi An, you’re overwhelmed. The streets are lined (sorry for the pun) with tailors and the staff are pouncing on you before you even come in off the street. They all look the same to you as their windows are bedecked with dresses and suits that look mass produced. On top of this, you’re probably not used to choosing an outfit from bolts of fabric and you find it difficult to imagine the finished product. To further complicate it, you’ve heard that half of them aren’t even tailors. How did anyone ever do this without Trip Advisor?
Well, I started with Trip Advisor but I was still a little bit cautious. The reviews emphasised suits and I hate suits. I’d also read that a lot of the reviews aren’t authentic. Apparently, they’re planted by the retailers themselves and can’t always be trusted. I’d also seen friends come home from Hoi An with ‘tailored’ clothes and was not impressed; they looked like very ordinary clothing that could have been bought in Primark for the same price. Another friend who’s a discerning fashionista told me she had bypassed Hoi An for tailoring as she wasn’t impressed by the quality of the clothes. Dilemma, dilemma…
In the end, I decided to go with Kimmy Tailor on Tran Hung Dao – it’s a big corner shop and you can’t miss it. It stands out from its neighbours because it looks like a high-end, slick and polished operation. They have a wide range of quality fabrics on their shop floor but that’s only a fraction of their total range which is massive.
I brought an old dress with me as it’s beautifully made, I’ve worn it for years and it’s had its day. The dress was stretch denim and Eva, the sales girl, produced about 30 samples of denim for me to choose from. I then remembered seeing beautiful silk trousers back home in All Saints so Eva handed me her iPad and I was able to look them up. She gave me three ranges of silk to choose from in all colours and of course I had to choose the most expensive one but it was 100% silk as opposed to a silk mix. I was measured, had three separate fittings and the clothes were delivered to my hotel two days after the initial fitting.
So, do I recommend the experience? See pros and cons below.
The dress I bought was a replica of the original with a few adjustments which I requested. It looks great and is a fantastic fit. The total cost of fabric and labour was $65.
The trousers are beautiful and we also made a few changes to these. The originals in All Saints were about 170 Euro but I got them for $65 in Kimmy, inclusive of fabric and labour.
When you come to try on your new outfit, they can still change everything, letting things out or in depending on what you want. Little tip: don’t walk in for fittings covered in sun-cream and sweat. Apart from damaging fabrics, you will find it hard to judge the item if you look and feel a mess.
The service was efficient and professional.
The clothes were delivered to my hotel, pressed and neatly packaged, suitcase-ready.
They open till about 10pm so you can do day trips and get your fittings done in the evening.
The brand new dress smelled musty. The fabric must have been sitting in a warehouse for ages but I washed it and now it’s fine.
Compared to buying a favourite, trusted brand at home, you are taking a little bit of a chance. The real measure of quality comes after you’ve washed or dry-cleaned several times and I don’t know how my dress will look or feel after a few washes or if my trousers will rip apart at the seams.
You’ll hear about people walking into shops and getting same-day tailoring, but if you want the job done well, you need to stick around Hoi An for a few days. You need to come back for several fittings so there’s a little bit of planning and organisation involved.
Last word: on balance, I’m happy with my purchases and would recommend Kimmy. I’ll post some photos of me wearing the items when I’m looking my best!