An Interview with local expat, Tiffany Trood

Arts & Culture Editorial

Unique... Passion... Fashion...

Tiffany Trood, an expat from Canada, has been living in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) for several years, working as a teacher at an international elementary school. She was the perfect person to interview about getting custom clothes tailored in Vietnam, because she has so much experience with it and it is one of her favorite things about living in the city. She gets clothes made for her personal wear and also for her growing small business where she sells her designs online.

My Guide Vietnam (MDV): What do you love most about living in Ho Chi Minh City?

Tiffany: Not only has this city provided an excellent international school for me to enjoy teaching at, but also, the city is filled with excellent tailors that have helped me materialize my other passion: fashion design.

MDV: How do you work with the tailors?

Tiffany: Well, every time that I travel, I pick up fabrics that catch my eye and inspire clothing designs. Yes, I drag my boyfriend to fabric markets wherever we go and bring home heaps of fabrics! I’ve used unique fabrics from Cambodia, Myanmar, India, as well as traditional Vietnamese prints in my dresses. I draw up a simple sketch of my design idea, and bring it to a tailor to discuss; they make my style come to life with their experienced sewing skills, and the price for this luxury is a fraction of what it would cost back in Canada!

MDV: The culturally-inspired aspect to your clothing must be the biggest draw to it?

Tiffany: Exactly. I think girls like my dresses and designs because they are so unique and made with such beautiful fabrics. The way that I design the shape and fit of the clothes is also equally important though- girls want to be comfortable and feel they look their best, and so I always keep that in mind.

MDV: What are your tips for people who want to have custom clothes made in Vietnam?

Tiffany: Remember this: It’s a learning process. If your first one doesn’t work out, try again.

MDV: Should people expect that they will have some things not turn out?

Tiffany: Well, I don’t mean that will happen necessarily. But in my experience, I’ve seen friends who maybe didn’t explain their design very well, or they didn’t choose their fabric correctly, or they didn’t speak up to their tailor about adjustments they wish they would have asked for. Really, I think that some people haven’t had the ‘important things to consider’ about this seemingly simple process explained to them before they go to a tailor- and there are some things to understand! Therefore, if you don’t go into the process with some knowledge, it can make it more complicated than it needs to be. I think your guide to getting clothes tailored will definitely set people up for a good first experience!

MDV: Do you have any other advice?

Tiffany: Sure...I would suggest that if you are wanting to get quite a few things made, if you have the time, have a tester made, and then do the rest. If you’re here for a short time- just be very clear with exactly what you want, from start to finish! You can’t just say, “I don’t know, I want a skirt!” You have to know what kind or shape of skirt, how you want it to look and feel, etc. You cannot expect to just walk in and describe what you want with some abstract idea and miming, haha, but you need to have some kind of picture to aid in your description. Also, never leave unhappy, ask for alterations when you had a different vision than their first attempt.

MDV: Do you only sell clothes online or do you also offer your services to people who need help getting bespoke designs made in Vietnam?

Tiffany: I do that too; based in Ho Chi Minh City of course, I consult with people who aren’t quite confident enough to work with a tailor on their own. Usually they cannot decide on a design because they don’t consider themselves fashion-savvy. I feel like the biggest problem is that some girls don’t understand what looks good on their body. That is important to figure out as it makes all the difference! I tell girls to drape your fabric across your body and think about how it will affect the clothing/style you want made and how that will affect the way your body is shown off. Stiffer fabrics will create a more formal, body fitting look, and these fabrics can also create better/bigger shapes and volumes and work better for pleating. Thinner fabrics can’t be structured as well, but those can make for a more simple/basic every day dress and may show off your curves a little more.

MDV: Do you have any tailors to recommend?

Tiffany: I’ve heard great things about many different tailors, but I tend to stick with the ladies that I started with long ago. Nam Silk does a very nice job understanding what I want and I believe they outsource their tailors. Loan Ha Silk is another one of my favorites- it feels like such a local shop and experience because all of the work is done in-house by one woman and husband and neither of them can speak much English, but it doesn’t really matter :)

To look at Tiffany’s unique dresses made from fabrics inspired by travel and constructed with body-shape enhancing styles that can be worn for everyday or dressy occasions, check out her blog or website: