Helen Chik on why Hoi An is the next fashion capital

This article was created for The Travel Project by Helen Chik, a lifestyle blogger who quit her office job in finance to follow her dreams of travel and hasn’t looked back once.

Guest post by Helen Chik, lifestyle blogger at helenchik.com, who quit her office job in finance to follow her dreams of travel and hasn’t looked back since.

When I started my blog almost three years ago, I never dreamt that I’d be able to turn my creative anchor into something that could help me escape the tedium of the corporate world. I scrounged for annual leave days whenever I could to book myself on a trip overseas and with each trip, I found myself yearning for freedom. Freedom to decide what days I would work and what days I wouldn’t, freedom to decide when I could go on holidays and freedom to just do what I want. Almost two years later my side hustle turned into a full time job and as I travelled more, the desire to have another side hustle was sparked.

“We travel because we need to, because distance and difference are the secret tonic to creativity. When we get home, home is still the same, but something in our minds has changed, and that changes everything.” – Johan Lehrer

Having started out blogging about fashion I’ve always dreamt about having a clothing business of my own. Travelling and seeing how vastly different some cultures are and their way of life in comparison to the privileged Western world we live in. We’re a breath away from launching our first collection of resort wear and still learning a lot of important lessons.

We went on the Vietnam Experience with Contiki in August and had the pleasure of meeting Mrs Quynh who founded Yaly’s Couture in Hoi An. For all the top gear fans (Clarkson era, not Le Blanc) if you’ve seen the Vietnam special you’ll remember that the trio had their tailored suits made at Yaly’s Couture. Mrs Quynh started as a small family store selling traditional Chinese dresses and shoes to tourists.

It soon became apparent that visitors wanted more than just traditional clothing and slowly the sisters began expanding their offering year on year. Now Hoi An is a tailoring and fashion capital with rich fabrics and sharp, modern (and super fast) tailoring. Whatever you can imagine, you can get made in Hoi An… and maybe even by the Yaly sisters themselves!

It’s incredible to imagine that the Yaly sisters now have 585 tailors working for them at one time to make custom clothing, and three stores within the Old Town of Hoi An. We were a little skeptical of the quality of work when we were told they only took 24 hours to produce anything you give them (and that includes two fittings!). If you really want to be impressed by this place then you need to try out the full size body imaging they do for anything that requires tailoring.

The most impressive part of the whole experience was the customer service you get from all the ladies who work for Mrs Quynh, and the quality of work. You have the same lady from the moment you walk into the store to the moment you leave with your new tailored pieces of perfection. After 24 hours we left with six skirts, one dress, three suits, two blazers and a shirt in fabrics that we handpicked – impressive right? I’ve always been an advocate on buying clothes of value and good quality and though the prices at Yaly were on the dearer side compared to other stores, it comes down to the age-old saying – you get what you pay for.

So if you’re thinking of heading to Vietnam anytime soon, stopping by the tailoring capital of the country is a must. Immerse yourself in the experience and get a real understanding for textiles and how they work on different people. If you get tired, stop by Banh Mi Phuong for the best pork roll you’ll ever have!

Check out my video diary from the trip below for a peek into the Yaly sister’s store and all the beauty of Vietnam ????