THU THUY SILK $$$
Okay, so Thu Thuy Silk might be one of the most expensive tailors in Hoi An, but if the sprawling 1000m2 Head Office in the heart of the Old Town is anything to go by, then it is also one of the most successful. Expect classy premises, informed staff, professional tailoring, and fabulous fabric choice (with, though, a little bit of up-and-down customer service).
As the story goes, Madam Thuy was the first tailor to break from the Cloth Market and start her own small shop catering to tourists. From here, the phenomenon that is today’s Hoi An tailoring industry sprang…and so too did Madam Thuy’s fortune. She now has 70 in-house tailors on her pay and boasts the Queen of Spain as one of her customers.
Not bad from such humble beginnings.
My favorite shop is the Thu Thuy Silk Head Office, at 60 Le Loi Street. On arrival, you may wonder what all the fuss is about. Ignore the small shabby shop frontage with depressingly sad headless mannequins in strange outfits and move straight through. You’ll be glad you did.
What greets you is pretty cool indeed. Think cobble-stoned courtyard leading to a mall of specialty shops housing wonderful ranges of fabric inside beautiful old Vietnamese buildings. There’s the silk shop, the cotton shop, and wool, linen and others all mixed in a host of others.
Being a pessimist at heart and never thinking anyone will have what I want, I wearily pulled up to Thu Thuy Silk, feeling decidedly despondent after searching all morning for a particular color of cotton. When the sales assistant started bringing out her swathes of cotton colors, I almost walked out. But lesson in tolerance learned: lo and behold, does the Pope wear a beanie? For not only did they have the exact color I’d been searching for, they had many colors I’d never seen before. Their autumn range in particular was to die for.
By the way, don’t bother to negotiate at Thu Thuy. They don’t. It’s $38 USD to have a shirt made up (male or female, simple style or not) – take it or leave it.
The shock must have registered like peristaltic waves on my face because the sales girl quickly added – without a hint of irony – “…Because our cotton is higher quality than anywhere else in Hoi An!” (as if no other tailor in Hoi An had ever said that to me before).
My finished shirt in a divine shade of autumn green was such an exact replica of the original that no alterations were needed. Well made, and with good finishing, it remains one of my favorite outfits.
In short, Thu Thuy Silk is a safe bet for a good outfit. My only aside is their customer service. In both shops, I’ve been served by sales staff with demeanours verging on indifference.
But c’est la vie: I guess I caught them both on a bad day!
Price guide (all quoted in USD):
Dresses $38 – $100
T-shirts $25 – $35