One of the highlights of visiting Viet Nam is being immersed in the hustle and bustle of big city life, and getting something tailor-made. For fashionistas, two of the best places to go are Cho Lon Market in District 5 and Tan Binh Market.
Both are wholesale fabric markets that sell to retailers all over the country. Clothes in a range of Asian sizes are also for sale, and although the focus is wholesale, you can buy clothes and fabric off the street for yourself.
Tucked away up a dark staircase on the third floor of a non-descript building on Phu Hoa Street in Tan Binh, two gay men offer one of the best tailoring services for ao dai (pronounced “ao zai” in the local dialect) – the traditional Vietnamese costume comprising a figure-hugging dress over satin pants. These guys are so busy, that the only way you can find them is word of mouth, and access to them is surreal – you just saunter through a grocery store and go up the back stairs.
They have an eye for design, and quickly size you up and offer advice on the style and colours that will suit you the best. I’d already bought a pretty piece of white fabric with pink blossoms to get an ao dai made up, but when they saw me they said I’d suit yellow and black better. I think they were right. Lesson learned, but I’m glad I have both.
Have you had any clothes tailor-made before? If so, what was your experience? I plan to post more blogs about tailoring clothes. I look forward to your comments.