Bargain shoppers beware. Ranked by real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield as the 21st most expensive retail street in the world and the costliest in India, Khan Market is where foreign diplomats and New Delhi gentility come for everything tailored. While not cheap, the fabrics and clothing you can snag will only put you back a fraction of the cost of the same items in upscale boutiques in New York, London or Los Angeles. If you’re ready for some high-end retail therapy, here are some tips to help ensure you walk away with quality garments you’re happy with.
Know what you want
If you walk into one of the tailor shops in Khan Market without some idea of what you’d like to walk out with, the stacks of catalogs and bolts of cloth stacked floor to ceiling can quickly become overwhelming. If you’d like something similar (or a replica) of an item you already own, bring it with you. If you don’t have an actual clothing item as an example, try to bring a photograph to give the tailors an accurate idea of what you’d like.
Before you have that expensive wool suit made, choose two or three tailor shops to ‘audition’ with a cheaper item, like a dress shirt, to check the fit and quality. If a tailor only takes three measurements, chances are the fit won’t be as good as one that takes six or seven. Keep in mind when choosing a tailor who the typical clientele are. A tailor who mostly serves Indian clients may tend to tailor clothes with a looser fit based on the local preference than one used to working with expats.
Splurge on the fabric
Most Khan Market tailors source their fabrics from the same places as the designer labels. Since you’ll be saving money on the brand, you can afford to put a little extra toward a high quality fabric. For wool suits, most designers use fabric graded between 100s and 110s.
Unlike some tailor markets in Southeast Asia, you can’t walk into a reputable tailor at Khan Market and leave with your suit or shirt the next day.
Have ready-mades tailored
If you’re shopping for Indian garments, like sari or salwar kameez, you can typically buy from ready-made shops, such as Fabindia, and have the item brought in or out for a custom fit. This is a particularly good option if you’re in a hurry and can’t wait for days for a final fitting.
Even if you aren’t in the market for a new suit or dress, spare a few hours for a trip to Khan Market anyway. Besides clothing, you can find book and music shops, grocers specializing in organic and imported foods and even handcrafted paper and stationary stores. The market gets crowded on Saturdays and is closed on Sundays, so plan your visit early in the week if you plan to have items tailored.