Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fabric shopping across Manila and Singapore

The more I am traveling across Asia the more convinced I am that Dong Dae Mun is the best place for fabric shopping. I have had some nice surprises here in Singapore but prices here are astronomical! Great quality, but boy it can hurt the pocket books.

I had a couple of pleasant fabric buying surprises in the Philippines, once at a local fabric market in Batangas City and another at the Mall of Asia in Manila. Cotton Depot at MoA was a serendipitous find while wandering through looking for another shop. I picked up some cotton lawn for about $5 USD/yd. Quailty was decent and they said it was Japanese cotton. The store at MoA had a small storefront, their main location is at Glorietta 5 (3rd floor). 

Cotton Depot, Mall of Asia, Manila

There are quite a few fabric stores at the SM Megamall in Manila, as well as Glorietta 5. Many of them had fancier fabrics for formal dresses and prices were fairly reasonable. I guess there is a bigger home sewing market in the Philippines than in Korea. I never made it to the big Divisoria market, maybe next time when I find a local who knows that place well. Apparently there is a lot of petty thefts at the market, foreigners are targets.

Singapore also has had some wonderful fabric shopping areas. An online Singaporean sewing friend kindly met up with me and showed me her favorite haunts on Arab Street and Chinatown. A lot of the Italian silks were absolutely gorgeous, at $75 SGD/meter and higher, I decided to skip buying any. The money I "saved" there came in handy when I was taken to Nicole Xavier in Chinatown. WOW. Hello there, Liberty of London cotton lawns.... I was in love!

Nicole Xavier, Chinatown, Singapore

I picked up a couple of yards of a beautiful cherry blossoms print, oh how I wanted to get more. With the exchange rate and meters to yards conversion the fabric was a little more than what I am seeing from online retailers in the US, but I am so in love with my piece. I researched more on Liberty of London when I returned back to the hostel last night, really look forward to getting more of this stuff in the future.

I returned to Arab Street today and came across a sale bin where I picked up an Italian silk charmeuse end piece for $10 SGD/meter. It was pure chance and a welcome cheaper price tag. Arab street is lined with vendors of fabric, most people buy their textiles here and then take it to a tailor to have garments made. So many beautiful silk prints in this area!

Arab Street, Singapore

I still have Kuala Lumpur, Cambodia, and Vietnam to hit up in the next few weeks. I wonder what other delicious textiles await me. :)


  1. 아이구! (Aigu!)

    Glad you're having a great time, my love. Don't forget to send me your budget entries!


  2. I have lived in the Philippines for more than 20 years, and although we have quite a lot of fabric stores, the quality and service leaves a lot to be desired! I am always truly jealous of the number of on-line stores you have in the US, even if all the brick and mortar stores are slowly disappearing as they are in my home country of the Netherlands.I also always research fabric stores whenever planning a foreign trip and if you ever get to Shanghai, I would highly recommend you take a separate suitcase and a huge bundle of cash!

  3. It's been awhile since I have been to Shanghai, and I really am looking forward to getting back, as well as exploring the surrounding cities to get some silk! Thanks for the visit and comment, I do have a list of stores in Manila where I went that I will post. I assume you're probably already familiar with the shops there!

  4. Thanks for the tips, I'm going to Singapore in a few weeks and am hoping to visit some fabric shops while I am there.