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Creating My Own Clothing In China: The Tailor Warehouses

Dress from China

Now since the colder weather is moving forward all my winter gear is slowly creeping to the front of my closest. Not all that exciting but as of today I had to put on one of my winter jackets. The jacket I wore today carries a story, Yeah I know a “story”. Well yes, and it’s a travel story of course. Back in 2007, when I traveled China I not only saw amazing temples, and cities, but I also experienced the place to create your own clothes. It all started with this silk tour I took in Beijing where I noticed many tourists entering into these little shops and sketching out their designs that would soon be created into a masterpiece of clothing. I wasn’t aware of how cheap it was to design your own clothes, but I did think it was a great idea. Even though I was purchasing so many knockoffs of handbags, shoes, and jewellery I knew I really wanted to have my own unique dress or jacket.

Once I reached Shanghai and after hearing about how much cheaper and better it was to shop in this city I knew I had to find the tailor capital. I was only there for three days, so the search was on pretty quickly. Yet, I actually didn’t come across the warehouse of the tailor shops until the second day. At first I was in shock in how many different fabrics, lining and material there was to choose from. It was astonishing to see so many different shops that held so many different fabrics. Yet, It was a good thing that I had an idea of what fabric I wanted for my dress. I wanted to keep it traditional and stay within the Chinese look, but with a bit of a twist to it. After an hour of searching for the right fabric I finally started my little and very own messy sketch to one of the tailor’s. I want to have a V neck line and a low back with thin straps around my neck. Plus I didn’t want the dress to be too long or short so the perfect length was my knees with a small cut. At first I found it a little difficult to explain the design, but finally it was done. The tailor mentioned it was going to cost me in Canadian around $20.00. I certainly accepted and was extremely happy with such a cheap price. The next stop was a jacket. I really wanted an off white cashmere waistline winter jacket. Oh and yes, I found the material and went ahead to order my jacket that only cost me $30.00 Canadian at which was remarkable.

My only problem was that I was leaving the following day to Hong Kong in the afternoon, so I told the tailors I needed them to be done for next morning. For some reason I thought it was not going to be a problem and so it was approved. Although, for a bit of advice, that is never true and you really should be prepared for 2-3 days for the work to be done. So once I got to the tailor the following morning, both my items weren’t complete. I waited for about an hour and finally they were done, but the next trick was getting to catch my flight on time. I had no time to try the items on, therefore I was only praying that they fit and looked good.
Within 2 hours of running around, and scrambling to get my plane ticket I just missed my flight by 15 minutes of the closing gate. I was not very happy, since I had to wait the following morning to get the following flight, but at least in the end my dress and my jacket fit “like a glove”.

I would certainly recommend getting whatever clothing you want to design in Asia, but remember give the tailor a bit of time to make it.

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