Indeed, the Fabric Street in Hong Kong is something to behold. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of textile shops in the area, with their samples hung out for your picking. Unless you are a student. We had to verify that we weren’t, and at some point, write down our company name (ha!) as well as our contact numbers. We were looking for some fabrics to make use of our newly picked up sewing skills, and were frankly, overwhelmed by what we saw. When we came back, we heard from a friend that there was an even bigger area that we missed. Boo.
Go crazy with their selection of zippers, buttons (oh my, their button shops are wayyyy awesome), ribbons, lace, enclosures, etc and more etc. We got lost in one of the button shops, and were too happy to stay that way, opening and closing one button drawer after another, until the shop chased us out for their lunch break. Helpful tip: most shops close for lunch from 12-1pm or 1-2pm. They block off the entrances with a rope, and set up the lunch table in the middle of the shop – regretfully, we only have some woefully underexposed and blur pictures to (not) show.
Buying fabrics: It was pretty painless for us. Pick up the sample card and bring it to the person. Most of the wholesale textile shops will have a minimum yardage; the shop we bought from had a minimum of 5 yards for each fabric, and that limited the variety of fabrics we could buy (and we were/are at the point where we want everything). We also had to wait for the fabric to be shipped from China, as is the case with most of the shops, and could only collect two days later. If you don’t have a local contact number, provide your email address so that the shop can contact you when the fabrics arrive. Do plan to head there early in your trip if possible – delivery takes 1-2 days at least and only some of the shops are open on Saturday and most will be shut on Sunday.
If you don’t have the time or simply don’t want to buy too much, there are mobile carts where ready-to-cut fabrics are on sale. The variety will be smaller, but the hawkers are friendly and not that fussed about minimum yardage. And the bigger fabric market that we missed? Apparently, it is opposite the Sham Shui Po Police Station (see link for a view on Google maps).
We browsed mostly fabric shops, but we did see some leather and upholstery places.
Access: Take the train to Sham Shui Po station and exit via A2 towards Apliu market. Head straight (the direction) towards Ki Lung street, and you will find your grin growing wide. Have fun!
PS: Even if you are not interested in fabrics, this area should be an interesting place just to snoop around; the morning bustle was great for sneaking photos and the Apliu market is a to-go place for electronic trinkets and vintage.