My first experience with making clothes at a fabric market was in Shanghai. Hong Kong sadly does not have anything like it and in lieu has pricier tailors and overpriced fabrics. However, just a hop skip and a jump over the border you will find consumers paradise. Traveling to the dark side can be intimating but have no fear! Here are a few tips and tricks to navigating your way to Shenzhen and then making fabulous frocks.
Simply take the the MTR to Lowu station which is the closest MTR station to the border. From Central station it will cost $46 HKD and an hour and some change each way. Upon arrival, you follow the signs to China Border Immigration. If you have a Hong Kong Residents card you can efficiently feed your card in the automatic machine like at the airport. From there you go through border control where they check your passport and Chinese Visa. The entire process takes about 30 minutes. You can get a Visa on arrival but not if you are America.
Follow signs to Luohu Shopping Plaza and take the very slow and very small elevator to the 5th floor. There you will find stall after stall of tailors. You then find one that you like the look of. Most of them speak English and they frequently work with foreigners. Once they have your measurements, they accompany you to choose the fabric from separate fabric vendors. Before you do this though, negotiate the price of what you want made as the fabric is priced out separately. The price that they will first give you will be 2-4 times the price, then you can bargain down. Stand firm and be prepared to walk away, this also goes for the fabric. It is very important to go with an idea of what you want as there is so much choice that it can be very overwhelming.
They deliver all finished garments to your address in Hong Kong for about $100 HKD which will take about 10 days. If you are unhappy with the fit, they will do tailoring for free, but the catch is that you have to make the trek back to do it. Lastly, note that the market is closed from the last week of January until after Chinese New Year.
Once Jessica measures you bust line, you’re friends for life!
I had the pleasure of attending a millinery workshop hosted by Awon Golding, a London based milliner who had returned to her once home of Hong Kong for a visit and to share her knowledge, passion and haberdashory talents.
Awon, stylish, laid back and exotically ambiguous, welcomed me and helped me get started on a floral fascinator. As other participants trickled in she flitted around and helped everyone at different stages, helping them get to the next.
After selecting from a smorgasbord of flowers, feathers and freckled veils, I began sewing the mauve fascinator onto the ribboned headband. From there, I nestled the netting on the base and arranged the flowers in a bouquet as a topper. After securing it with stitches, I added the last bit of netting to finish it off.
To be frank, making the fascinator was easier than I thought. However, gathering all of the materials to create one on your own would be the difficult part. I am grateful to have spent time learning from a master and gaining the confidence in knowing that come derby day, I will be making my own fabulous fascinator!
This post is for the ‘Hong Kongers’ that need a little help with where to buy art supplies in and around Central. Do note that such supplies are cheaper in Sham Shui Po but if you are like me, I would rather pay a little more to avoid going to the dark side just for some googley eyes. Am I right, or am I right!?
As you know, finding the cheapest supplies is trial and error. In fact, just yesterday I bought spray paint and then found it cheaper 10 minutes later at another shop down the street. So, I marched back and demanded that they allow me to return it. After putting my angry ghost face on, I was met with success. With that, lets start off with paint.
Spray paint, furniture and large project paint can be found at neighbourhood hardware caves. My local is on the corner of Jervios street and Hillier street. A can of regular spray paint will run you $24 HKD. In this hardware cave there is a friendly young cave man with great English very eager to help.
For crafty items, meaning everything from styrofoam balls and glitter glue to oil paints and crate paper, the stationary mecca of Central is located on in the alley of Wing Wot Street, off of Queen’s Road. Now here is the catch, everything is slightly marked up because they know we live on an island so be prepared to pay a little extra for convenience.
My all time favourite supply store is on Stanley Street next to the promised land for fancy dress, a.k.a Pottinger Street. This place has fake fruit, international flag bunting and a nice selection of art materials. It is a magical kitchen drawer store and every time I am amazed at the wondrous things that they are hawking.