Custom making ballroom dresses in China?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by tuxedosam, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    So you are looking for couture quality but at slightly less than couture pricing.
  2. swan

    swan Member

    Few years ago, I inquired into one of the popular dressmaker in Shenzhen. I still don't know her name as I walked into the studio where people told me where she might be but she wasn't there. However, I did get a ballpark pricing. Not cheap at all! Perhaps they saw that I didn't look like a local :) Back then it was already close to $2000USD (14000RMB) minimum & the price can go up to 20K to 30KRMB. You're looking at regular couture pricing.

    The dancesport schools probably have their own deals with the local dressmakers due to high volume. Their gowns are nice looking, but probably not as high quality. The top amateur & pro competitors have very high quality gowns (saw some awesome ones at the China Nationals). The top couple is sponsored by Chrisanne (Yang Chao & Yilin Tan).

    China has 3 (and possibly 4) very large international competitions (this does not even count the ones held in Hong Kong). One is IDSF in Shanghai (back in 2006, it was even a Grand Slam final), the other ones have been mentioned, Shenzehn Open & Beijing Star.

    BTW - Larinda was right. There're lots of people in China who can afford very high price gowns (and we're NOT talking about the rich Hong Kong Pro/Am ladies). I was joking one time when I was in Shanghai that I was the poor American walking around in fake name brand shirt while the locals were spending over 20K RMB for the real stuff! But with that said, there're only a few rich regions in China like that.
  3. jenniegirl

    jenniegirl New Member


    The person whom i made the costume from in china claims that he has done many costumes before. He said he specialises in latin dancewear. In the end, the result was so-so.. had to alter it when it reached me. spent more money than expected. thats why i am asking people about the good tailors there instead. if not i will be custom making my costume in europe instead.
  4. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    Of course I wouldn't guess at this specific person's intent, but in the Chinese culture, bargaining, especially with foreigners, is simply the thing to do. The locals, at least the VAST majority, make it their policy to upcharge the foreigners many times over. Not saying it's good or bad, right or wrong, but it's the way it happens. Here are three examples:

    1) A suitcase I needed to purchase was offered to me at $35. After walking away several times and bargaining, I finally purchased it for $8.
    2) A sweater was offered to me at $38, supposedly a Diesel garment (yeah right, I really do look stupid huh?), and I got it for $10.
    3) I had several suits made. Originally they were priced at $430 each, and after bargaining they were $135 each.

    I'm not saying that it's necessarily this way in the dance outfitting business, but from taxi rides overpricing, to great wall harassment by merchants, to being approached by "art students" at Tiananmen square more times than I care to remember, it has been made clear to me every time I've been that I have to work for a fair price :) (and for the things I didn't want, which was pretty much everything, "wo3 bu2 yao4", meaning basically "I don't want it", was constantly on my lips). But again, it's also possible that the price you were quoted was the same price that would have been given to anyone else, as it was a more high-end item for a speciality purpose.
  5. operabob

    operabob New Member

    My wife doesn't compete but we do go to comps and balls.

    If I were to secretly order something for her how do you suggest I secretly go about sizing her? ;-)

    OB
  6. Laura

    Laura New Member

    OB, if you want to have something custom-made for you, you really need to get her actual measurements, and those are more than just bust-waist-hip.
  7. amiko

    amiko New Member

    Ballroom Dresses in China

    I have never ordered a ballroom dress from China, and I'm sure there must be a good dressmaker someone in a country of 1.3 billion people.

    I've seen pre-made dresses from China that were around $200 with korean stones. I say depending on what level you are competing in, and depending on how luxurious you want to look...like everyone else said, you get what you pay for.

    If you want to spend $200-$500 on a dress, I think it is ok in lower levels, but definetely under par when competing in pre-champ and up.

    I am interested in what you find. Ask around the studios there, and maybe I'll make a trip too!!
  8. amiko

    amiko New Member

    To Operabob,

    That's really sweet to try to surprise your wife with a dress. Get something in stretchy fabric (such as lycra). This can be tricky, but you can bring some of her existing dresses/skirts/pants to get the correct length. Bring a long sleeve shirt to get arm length, bring a bra. If she has big hips, bring panties, otherwise, not necessary.

    Or you can try to measure her in her sleep. =)
  9. operabob

    operabob New Member

    LOL!

    She's a light sleeper.

    I'm visualizing it now!

    OB
  10. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    One way is to encourage her to try on various gowns that are for sale any time you encounter them (try on a bunch at a competition, etc). You can also go shopping with her for ordinary clothes. Pay attention and you can start to develop an idea of what works. And there's always the option of going back secretly and buying something you both liked.
  11. dancinsarah11

    dancinsarah11 New Member

    there is a seller off ebay which i have used about 4 times ...she is great she is down as viva dancewear she aslo has a site too, i have had great dresses from her and all reasonably priced
    xx




  12. Ellie

    Ellie New Member

    Hi everyone, I am a dressmaker in England although I do have a number of customers in the USA so have found this topic really interesting. I agree that there is a need for reasonably priced dresses as not all dancers want nor can afford the dresses produced by the worlds best couture companies, such as Chrisanne etc. It may well be that many people have purchased dresses from manufacturers in China and been happy with them but those that I have seen have in my opinion been made from very poor quality fabrics/trimmings, are in the main factory mass produced and a very poor fit. I have on a number of occassions had to attempt to alter dresses sourced from the Far East, to make them wearable!! I also have quite a few customers who have purchased dresses from E-bay and other sources and have just binned them as being totally useless, as well as one or two customers who have been reasonably happy with what they have got for their money, however these have been in the minority!! In the instances where I have altered these dresses the result has been that by the time the customers paid for the dress and then the costs of the alterations to make the dress fit to wear, they could have come to me and had a dress made by me for a similar price in the first place, which would have guaranteed a good fit and a well made dress using quality fabrics.

    I cannot comment directly about Rainbow Shui as I have never had any dealings at all with them but one thing that does concern me greatly is the number of companies which have set up "internet businesses" in England offering cheap ballroom and latin dance dresses for sale. That part is not a problem but unfortunately what a number of them do is to mislead the customer into believing that they are actually making their dresses for them. They use terms such as "have your dress custom made by us" and nowhere on their websites does it actually say that in fact your dress isn't really being custom made by them at all but is being made in a factory in China. When you read the very small print, it does give information such as the fact that you have to pay for your dress in full in advance and if it dosn't fit, then this is undoubtedly because you have not taken your measurements properly!!!! Oh and of course refunds are not given. What makes it even worse is that some of them even have the audacity to steal photographs from genuine couture companies websites and use these same photos offering to make copies of these dresses for a fraction of the RRP prices!! Imagine the disappointment when the dress turns up and you are actually expecting it to looking something like that shown in the photograph only to find that of course it doesn't event remotely resemble it.

    Another scam that I have come across is where they show a photograph of a beautifully made couture dress, smothered in Swarovski rhinestones and offer to make you that very same dress for a couple of hundred pounds. As I am in the trade, I am not stupid and know that it would be impossible to even buy that quantity of Swarovski rhinestones for the price they are offering the dress at let alone make the dress and apply the stones. So where is the catch, check the small print and it tells you that your dress will be "stoned in a variation of that shown in the photograph"!!!!!!! In other words your dress will have a couple of hundred stones on it rather than the 10,000 on the dress in the photograph!!! They claim that this is because they wish each dress to be individual and not an exact copy of another!!
    These companies are probably making huge profits at the expense of amatuer dancers. I can buy a ballroom dress direct from China for about £60, these companies sell them at anywhere between about £175 and £500, a huge percentage profit mark up for doing nothing other than taking the order, ordering from China and then delivering to the customer. Incidentally these companies have no effect on my business whatsoever as I am always busy, with a full order book and normally have around a three month waiting list for dresses, so this is not a case of "sour grapes" - lol.


    Sadly like a lot of things in life, dance dresses come under the "you get what you pay for" scenario but my advice would be to "shop around" to see where you can get the best value for money from a reputable company or dressmaker. I can and do produce beautiful top quality dresses that grace the floor at major competitions around the world, such as Blackpool but even without the overheads of the major couture companies I just cannot produce top quality dresses smothered in thousands of Swarovski rhinestones for peanuts, simply because the costs just of purchasing the fabrics and stones are many many times more than I could purchase a dress from China for. However of course there is going to be a huge difference between how the dresses would look! What I can do though is to produce made to measure "budget range" dresses for dancers that don't require a hugely expensive dress. I do this by using simple designs, good quality fabrics and imported or acryllic rhinestones and beads and basically design the dresses to fit within the customers budget as well as the purpose for which the dress will be used but what I do not compromise on is fit and quality of workmanship. The most commonly asked question that I receive is "how much will you charge to make me a dress". This is like asking how long is a piece of string because I can make a dress for a few hundred pounds or a few thousand:D My mission in life is to make nice, good quality dance dresses that my customers will be happy with. I doubt that I am unique and I am sure that there are others like me around the globe. I could jump on the bandwagon and import shoddy dresses from China, sell them via my website and earn a nice fat profit but I wouldn't have the pleasure and satisfaction that I get from seeing my customers looking fabulous dancing in competitions in dresses that I have made;)
  13. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

  14. Me

    Me New Member

    Since this thread has been bumped...I wanted to give kudos to swanstudioau on eBay. I purchased two of those gowns and they are absolutely GORGEOUS. Well made... my only gripe is they were a little larger than the measurements suggested, but otherwise, WONDERFUL.

    Looks like somebody negged them on ebay about quality and price and I'm really not sure why... we all make mistakes but my experience with the two gowns I purchased were fabulous. Great colors, great design, good fabrics. The stoning was the little korean stones but it was not obnoxiously so. I am in the process of restoning one and it will be absolutely fabulous when I am done.
  15. Dancebug

    Dancebug Active Member

    Do you understand what he says?;)
  16. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

    some of their stuff looks very nice... I have to say.. good designs
  17. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

    It must be esl thing, I can tell what he is trying to say lol..
  18. Me

    Me New Member


    Yes!

    I really don't need another gown right now, but I keep eyeing this one. Unbelievably it is only $299. It is too big for me is the only reason I guess I haven't snapped it up, regardless of my not needing it...

    [​IMG]
  19. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

    looks nice, specially if you add some swarovsky stones to it
  20. njdancegirl

    njdancegirl Active Member

    Me...been eyeing that one as well, but as you said don't need another.

    I agree - SwanStudio, for the price, does excellent work. Purchased one and have been extremely pleased with look, design, quality...more so than other more expensive dresses purchased.

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