It can be overwhelming. Tailor shops on every corner, echoes of ‘you buy shoes here’, cheeky sales girls pulling you into their auntie’s store. Eeegh. Here are a few of the more tried and true options. The key things to remember are: best to go with something they have done before, bring a picture or bring an item to copy. You ARE paying for tailor made clothes so be fussy! If you ask for a certain cuff, they should do it! It may take 3 or 4 fittings but make sure they get it right and don’t give up.
Personally I avoid the market- it is too busy and there is too much confusion with the tailors (ie- all the clothes are sent out to be sewn in workshops around town and often at the market I hear stories of them going missing or swapping fabric)
Mr Xe- A bit of a legend in Hoi An, Mr Xe has been around for a long time and gained a solid reputation for offering well-priced, high quality wears. His girls can be a bit grumpy at times, but he is always smiling and will ensure your items fit the way you want them to…he personally takes them to his tailors to tell them how to fix/adjust the items so there is no middle man. What he excels in: business shirts and button-up short sleeve shirts, casual shorts and skirts, and winter coats. I’ve seen some nice men’s suits come out of there but his fabric selection for suits is not as extensive as other places in town.
71 Nguyen Thai Hoc
Yaly- The biggest, baddest tailor shop in town…and I mean that in a good way. What makes Yaly unique is that their tailors are on site AND its air conditioned. This means that when you are trying on your items, the person who sewed it is there with you seeing the adjustments that need to be made and you will be nice and cool while doing so. What this also means is, you will pay more- less than at home but certainly more than other Hoi An shops. I would particularly recommend Yaly for business suites purely because their fabrics are better as well as those of a slightly older generation who want a more comfortable shopping experience (the sales girls are not pushy). Also very ‘special’ item should be done at Yaly- I know several folks have wedding dresses/suits made there.
Several outlets in town but the largest is the original shop at 47 Nguyen Thai Hoc.
Hieu Da Leather- The quality of leather in Vietnam is not great but these guys tend to have the best and are excellent sewers (I had an English seamstress recently tell me how good their work is). Go here for leather jackets…certainly the best in town.
85 Tran Phu Street
The First- A long-running, quality shoe shop. A bit out of the town center but worth the walk. The gals speak excellent English and have a good eye for funky new designs. They are very good with boots as well, ensuring the fit is to your specifications. The selection of leather is not great but remember you get what you pay for.
275 Nguyen Duy Hieu
Ixora- For off the rack clothes, Ixora is a great option. Very airy, light designs with a bohemian feel to the range. The owner is from Hanoi but has lived in France which is evident from the designs and shop layout. (she’s also one of the partners of Puku Café in Hanoi) There is also a selection of jewelry for sale from her sister’s shop Memory.
Nguyen Thai Hoc Street
Avana- Also offering off the rack clothes, Avana is the brain child of two Belgian designers. Prices are a bit high but the designs are superb- very different from the standard Hoi An offerings.
15 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street (Across the Japanese Bridge)
Randy’s Book XChange- Hoi An (and possibly Vietnam’s) best used book store is run by the knowledgeable Randy, an American expat. He has an extensive collection of real books (ie- not photocopies) tucked away in his shop on Can Nam Island.
Cross the bridge to Can Nam, take your second right and follow the signs.
Written by Anne Courtney Cruickshanks (living and working in Hoi An)