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Hanoi’s Mannequin Town Ninh Hiệp Market: Where >1,000 “Runway Models” Glare At You Everywhere You Look

Ninh Hiệp Market: Hanoi’s mannequin town

Usually, runway shows at fashion weeks are what come to mind when we picture a dizzying array of garments in various styles, and paper-thin models preening in front of cameras.

Well, that’s not the only way to experience the privilege of being surrounded by a diversity of garments and models.

Right in Vietnam’s capital, you can feast your eyes on thousands of dazzling, unique clothing collections from lingerie to ninja outfits without having to pay a dime. The only difference is that they are worn by mannequins, which are lined up for over 1KM – from major streets into narrow lanes.

Check out Ninh Hiệp Market – Hanoi’s mannequin town and the land of copious Halloween-worthy photo ops. 

Ninh Hiệp Market – Hanoi’s largest one-stop fashion market 

Image adapted from: Lao Động

If there’s any place where “models” don’t fight with one another for photo opps or strike unique poses to stand out from the rest, that’s Ninh Hiệp Market.

Situated in Gia Lâm, 25KM away from Hanoi’s city center and established in May 1961, Ninh Hiệp Market is among the oldest wholesale markets and the most popular in northern Vietnam. 

Image credit: Dân Trí

The outer area of the market comprises a web of small streets lined with clothing shops selling an array of ready-made clothing, shoes, fabrics, and accessories of all kinds. A majority of them are imported from Guangzhou as well as manufactured in Vietnam. 

The market also has plenty of businesses offering clothing manufacturing services for orders of large quantities. 

Image credit: Dân Trí

From áo dài to pyjamas to soldier uniforms, Ninh Hiệp Market has everything for everyone. Plus, this is one of the most affordable places in town to buy clothes, or to bargain with confidence if you plan to buy in large quantities. However, it’s best that you come here with someone who has bargaining skills and basic knowledge of fashion or fabrics, so you can be sure that what you’re paying for is worth its value.

Image credit: Dân Trí

If you’re a fashion designer or a tailor, my advice is to go straight to Baza, a sub-market within the Ninh Hiệp Market. Don’t stop halfway, but go straight there because that’s where the most diverse and quality fabrics are gathered. For those buying menswear, head to Sơn Long Market, which is nearby. 

What makes it so special is that it is filled with thousands of mannequins wearing clothes. In fact, these mannequins are also for sale from VND500,000-VND1,000,000 (~USD21.97 – USD43.94) each.

Bearing similar body sizes, poker-face expressions, and mostly bald heads, these mannequins all face the streets as if beckoning visitors to come closer. As fascinating as this whole town looks, a midnight cruise around is not for the faint of heart. 

Image adapted from: Lao Động

Before the fourth Covid-19 outbreak when people could roam the street freely, these lifeless models’ high-fashion figures and enigmatic appearances used to pull in the crowds.

But now, Ninh Hiệp Market and its usually bustling surrounding streets rarely see any passing visitors. The mannequins, therefore, are not getting any attention, even though they stand there tirelessly from dusk till dawn, rain or shine.

Image credit: Zing

Hanoi’s mannequin town is reeling from the pandemic and restrictions

Image credit: Zing

One week into reopening, the market has yet to restore its formerly 24/7 bustling status.

Without local visitors, buyers from neighboring provinces, and delivery riders, these mannequins are staring at one another while shop owners are desperate for a human soul to visit.

During these days when most businesses, from F&B to medical establishments, are switching to online platforms, these shop owners also follow suit.

From time to time, they take photos of these mannequins wearing the latest collections and post them on social media to find customers. 

Image credit: Zing

Judging from what’s going on, many fashion shops are just trying to stay afloat.

Let’s support local businesses whenever possible

It’s been five months since the fourth Covid-19 outbreak struck Vietnam. Businesses across the nation, big or small, have seen their trades evaporate because of stringent restrictions and absence of visitors. 

Many business owners have tried to resume operation and hit the ground running again by taking out loans. 

Hopefully, us locals can lend a hand to support the reopening of Ninh Hiệp Market, or any business joints in your area that you know of. You can pay them a visit when it’s safe for you to do so, order products online, and leave positive reviews.  

Address: Nành Village, Ninh Huyện, Gia Lâm Ward, Hanoi
Opening hours: 7AM-6PM, Daily

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Cover image adapted from: Lao Động and Zing

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