It's not exactly a secret that China is the “land of cheap custom made clothes”. But, as with everything here, it's easy to get ripped off if you don't know what you're doing. Luckily for you, there have been countless people who have forged the custom made clothes path before you and there are some general tips that come in handy when visiting the fabric market. These tips also hold true for tailors with their own stores, and even the tailors that make house calls.
When experiencing the market for the first time, you might as well plan to spend a whole morning or afternoon there – anything shorter than that and you'll just feel rushed (aka: pressured). Most fabric markets in China have at least a dozen stalls (most have many more than that), so you want time to wander until you find one that strikes your fancy. I always recommend talking with multiple vendors to get a general price range, although the prices they give you are obviously negotiable.
When you've settled on a particular stall, it's time to pick your fabric. The fabric bolts lining the walls are usually the cheaper materials. This does not mean that they're bad, necessarily – they're just not anything overly special. For nicer material, ask to see their fabric books. These often contain wrinkle free options, as well as slightly heavier cloths. Fabrics like this will obviously run you more, but if you're as allergic to an iron as I am, it might be worth it.
Bargain, bargain, bargain
After you've decided what item(s) you would like made, the negotiating begins. It's a no brainer that the more you buy, the more the vendor will drop the price. It's also important to keep in mind that the less material they use, even if the amount seems negligible, the more you can use that to your advantage. For example, a short sleeve shirt will cost a bit less than a long sleeve shirt, just as shorts will cost less than pants. While the vendor may protest, saying that the amount of fabric they save by making you a short sleeve shirt doesn't amount to much, I've found that they usually drop the price if you remain firm.
A small, but important, issue when negotiating is buttons. While small, these little buggers can make a huge difference in the appearance of your custom made item – at the very least, nicer buttons will save you the headache of them falling off every time you wear it. Most stalls will simply tack on the clear cheap buttons unless you request otherwise, so be sure to specifically ask for their nicer ones. Here, again, the vendors will often try to charge you more, but will sometimes back down and give them to you for the same price if you insist. If you can't pull this off the first time you order from them, try, try again – stall owners love repeat customers and become surprisingly lenient about certain things (like buttons) the more you buy from them.
You'll be expected to pay a deposit after you order your items – this is usually about half of your total order. The vendor will then give you a receipt and a clip of the fabric you ordered. Do not lose this receipt! It has the tailor's booth number on it so you can easily locate them again, plus it's a pain in the arse to try and remember how much you've paid, exactly what your shirts were supposed to look like, etc. if you show up the next week without the receipt.
When you go back to pick up your custom made clothes, be sure to try everything on. Be prepared, despite all the hemming and hawing and measuring, that some of your clothes still might not fit exactly right. If this is the case, don't be afraid to speak up! You are paying the tailor to create a product that fits you, and if it doesn't, it is his or her responsibility to fix it. Don't let anyone try and convince you that it's “supposed to” fit that way (like a vendor did to a friend of mine) – if it doesn't fit, insist that it gets fixed.
Lastly, not all tailors are created equal. Unless you just absolutely fall head over heels for the first vendor you try (and lucky you if you do!), it's always a good idea to try out a few different ones. You'll find that some might charge you more but do an infinitely better job, or that the cheaper one really does meet all your needs. Different tailors have different skill levels, so it's important to shop around. When getting custom made clothes made, it's really all about your personal preferences.
Warning：The use of any news and articles published on eChinacities.com without written permission from eChinacities.com constitutes copyright infringement, and legal action can be taken.
Keywords: fabric markets in China custom made clothes in China
All comments are subject to moderation by eChinacities.com staff. Because we wish to encourage healthy and productive dialogue we ask that all comments remain polite, free of profanity or name calling, and relevant to the original post and subsequent discussion. Comments will not be deleted because of the viewpoints they express, only if the mode of expression itself is inappropriate.
Please login to add a comment. Click here to login immediately.