In Hoi An, you will hear from many tailors that they use high-quality fabrics. Some tailors in Hoi An even claim "Our fabrics are imported from Italy, Japan or America etc." 50 USD for a 100% Italian wool suit, or 30USD for imported Egyptian Cotton? Really?
If an offer is too good to be true, it probably is. Sometimes, there is a fine line between getting a good deal and getting cheated.
Unfortunately not many customers are not well informed and knowledgeable when it comes to fabrics. Many have limited access to information in the buying process. Most people get their information from unreliable sources.
This is why so many tailor shops in not just Hoi An, but Asia in general, get away with lying to their customers. So where do most tailors in Hoi An get their fabrics from?
Local Fabric Vendors
Many tailors in Hoi An choose the easy option of lying to customers and then buying shirt and suit fabrics from nearby local vendors. This way, tailor shops do not need to spend a lot of money on their fabric inventory, which saves on the cost of producing a suit.
Wow! Cost Savings! Sounds Good? Sadly, most local fabric vendors offer fabrics that are generally poor in quality. Many tailor shop owners actually do not have much knowledge about fabrics. Besides it is Vietnamese culture to think a cheap deal is a great deal. Many owners love to bargain a lot at fabric shops too.
The problem is that demand for poor fabrics is high and demand for good values is low. All because of the mindset that cheap fabrics is better-just because it's cheaper. So it makes sense that fabric shops sell poorer fabrics cause demand is high and profit margins are higher. Besides the tailor shop owners can't tell the difference anyway!
How Do You Buy Good Fabrics?
Today, many reputable fabric mills from Japan, Korea, and China are scrambling into Vietnam to meet the surge in demand for fabrics. The demand are mainly from these huge garment factories, many of which are designer labels.
Unfortunately quality yet affordable fabrics do not come to us just like that. These reputable fabric mills or traders usually only entertain big factories. Hence, typical tailors in Hoi An will not have access to these fabrics.
With about 20 years of wholesale and manufacturing experience, we have built great relationships with these reputable mills. We have also built expertise in sourcing, inventory and logistics planning to make this possible.
The leading brand for suits and shirts in the tailoring industry are Holland & Sherry and Thomas Mason respectively. Not many tailors in Hoi An know the existence of these labels.
Usually, most S.E.Asian fabric distributors for imported fabrics are from Singapore and Hong Kong because low taxes. So during one of our traveling tailor service trips in Singapore, we contacted the sole distributors of these brands.
3 Reasons to Not Purchase Branded or Designer Fabrics
After some tough consideration, we did not purchase these branded or designer fabrics for three simple reasons:
High Import Taxes: No one particularly enjoys paying taxes, especially an import tax.
Great Existing Suppliers: We know our suppliers are providing us and our customers great value. They own their own mills to produce great quality fabrics. High quality enough to pass the strict criteria of some of your favorite designer labels.
Not Worth the Additional Cost: If you ask me, are the fabrics from these famous brands better than my fabrics? I would say yes but only marginally better. However, the price difference is huge! Truth is we will be paying more for the branding rather than the quality difference itself.
Ultimately with proper after care, our shirts and suits can also make you look great and last for many years. That is the Vanda Tailors promise. So the next time, if any tailor shop in Hoi An promises you imported fabrics from Japan or Italy at great prices, walk away!
Written by Kieu Nguyen of www.vandatailors.com
Kieu Nguyen is the 2nd generation tailor and owner of Vanda Tailors, one of the most reputable tailors in Hoi An Vietnam.