I have been here for only three months and have already gotten 3 outfits made by various tailors. Sounds decadent doesn't it? But this is what people do here, from the poorest to the richest.
Benefits of getting stuff custom made:
1. It fits you purr-fectly.
2. You can get anything made (even that revealing, transparent green outfit J.Lo wore for the Music awards). For dirt-cheap.
3. You feel like a million bucks.
1. You do not get the instant gratification of buying something in the store.
2. It can turn out horribly wrong.
3. You feel like a spoiled brat.
4. You have to buy your own fabric which means that you have to fight and claw your way through Sandaga (the main market in Dakar) and be hassled everywhere along the way.
While my previous outfits were made from various tailors, I have a Marine Ball coming up and decided to get a nice dress made. A nice dress requires a good tailor.
I chose my tailor from a "Welcome to Dakar" booklet published by a group of American housewives. They describe him as follows: "Excellent training and skills!! He is able to make exact copies of clothing, as well as work from a photograph or drawing. Reasonable prices. Comes to your house to pick-up material, for fittings and for drop -off. A very nice honest and hard working person. He understands a little English".
He even had a little heart besides his name--which I took to be a good sign-- so called him and made an appointment.
Upon hanging up, I realized that I had called to wrong person: "Used by American club and International community for costumes, comes to the house, copies from pictures". Yikes! Too embarassed by my mistake, I refused to cancel the appointment. That night, I dreamt of walking seductively in a room, wearing a zebra dress with spikes down the back.
A few days ago, he came back to the house for another fitting. Apprehensively, I opened the door to let him in. I am ashamed to have ever doubted him. He made a wonderful sleeveless dress with the rather cheap material that I bought. I sent him back to fit the dress at the hips (it was a little too large--I don't blame him, I loose weight every week like it's nobody's business). Yeah!
Next time I get something made, I'll call this guy again and get better fabric. Then I can say to people who enquire: "this dress? I got it specially made by famous tailor to my specifications".