Buying Custom-Made Dresses in Shenzen, China

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We all know that Western, average-sized ladies are giants in Asia, and shopping can be a real pain. Luckily for us, there are plenty of places in Asia that offer beautiful, well-made custom dresses. Shenzen, China, just across the border from Hong Kong, is one of them.

Instead of getting a full-on Chinese visa, it’s possible to just take the Hong Kong MTR to Lok Ma Sha in Shenzen and buy a day pass at the station. This day pass is restricted – you can only go to the attached shopping mall, but it’s all you need for ready-made or custom clothing, plus there are a ton of massage places.

Once you get into the mall, you can choose a dressmaker, and she will take you to the fabric shops. It’s unlikely she’ll speak much English, but in such a limited space, it’s not hard to get your point across. You should take a few of your own dresses so she can copy the design; if you just take a photo, the final product might not be exactly what you want.

It’s okay if you’re only in Shenzen for the day. After you get measured and sorted, give your address in HK to the dressmaker, and when it’s all done, she’ll post them to you. Your dresses will most definitely come back stinking of cigarette smoke anywhere from three to five days later, depending on how many you order. One dress will usually run about HK$400-500 (US$50-65).

If you just want something right away, no worries! There are also tons of ready-made shops, which are much cheaper, really cute and just different enough that you’ll get asked where you got it. And there’s a wide range of sizes as well!

Have you gotten made-to-order dresses in Asia?

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About Author

Maureen always knew she wanted to travel. In college, she studied and traveled through the Caribbean and Central America, and the first time she fell in love was with Mexico City. After graduating, she spent several years teaching EFL in Europe, the Americas and Southeast Asia and traveling in every spare moment. She's currently living in Hong Kong, and getting lost while traveling is her main hobby.

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