Suited and Booted in East Africa?
September 7, 2010 5:59 AM   Subscribe

Place to get tailor-made clothes in Nairobi, Kampala, or Kigali?

I am traveling in East Africa for the next few weeks. I will be in Nairobi, Kampala, and Kigali, amongst other more rural places in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda.

I would be interested to find a good tailor who can make me some fitted trousers, shirts, and even a full suit or two. Can anyone recommend one?

I'm aware that these countries are not especially known for their tailoring, but surely they suits somewhere, right? I thought it would be a good opportunity to get some quality clothes at (to me) low prices while patronizing local business here.
posted by meadowlark lime to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (5 answers total)
Best answer: If you walk down Biashara Street and it's environs in Nairobi you'll come across a number of tailoring shops any of which will be able to fulfil your request.
posted by gadha at 6:50 AM on September 7, 2010

Yeah, Biashara street is hands down the place you want to go in NBO. Just remember to bargain bargain bargain.

Be forewarned: you're not going to get very high quality clothes, and the prices will not be that great - clothes are expensive here. You'd be better off in places like Turkey, various Middle Eastern locales, etc..
posted by allkindsoftime at 4:32 AM on September 8, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses. I had a wander down Biashara and nearby yesterday and found some good places to choose from. You're right, the prices were not as low as I'd expected / hoped, but I was happy with the look and feel of some of the suits.

If you have experience here, can you guys' give me a guideline for what kind of prices I should be haggling toward for what kinds of suits? I couldn't tell whether I was being quoted "mzungu prices" or not and don't want to be overeager in pulling the trigger on this.
posted by meadowlark lime at 3:30 AM on September 9, 2010

You will get the mzungu price anywhere you go around there, for sure. I'm not really familiar with pricing for clothing there, but to give you a barometer - at the curio shops in the old church I will usually get prices down to 1/3 to 1/4th of the original quote (kind of depends on how badly they over-quote you to start with), whereas at the curtain shop across the street (run by an Indian guy, so - diff story) I got the up-front price per meter on the fabrics, but then after giving him the measurements for my whole house, got him to come down a couple thousand shillings or so as a discount on the back side.

Just be ready to stick to your guns, and have a looooooong drawn out haggling session. The one thing the African man has no paucity of is time - if you're willing to out-last him in the negotiation you can always go a bit lower.
posted by allkindsoftime at 9:13 AM on September 9, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the guideline! My two favorite tailors in Nairobi so far were both Indians, and they seemed pretty firm about price so I'm guessing I won't be able to squeeze much unless I buy in volume.
posted by meadowlark lime at 1:31 AM on September 10, 2010

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