NOTE: Please take note of the date of the following post. When talking about the souq certain information can quickly become out of date. We will endeavor to post updates at the end of this post when necessary. Also refer to the comments section for updates by readers…we welcome all feedback.
A common question – Where do I buy fabric in Doha?
Of course it will all depend on what your project requires. Are you a quilter, a dress maker, a crafter or an upholsterer? Whatever the case you will be surprised at the variety of fabrics available in Doha. It sometimes takes a lot of digging, navigating and negotiation but it is all worth the effort, although the following information aims to take some of that effort out of the adventure.
This post is the beginning of a hopefully comprehensive guide to where to get fabric, who to speak to and how to get the best deal and quality.
Part 1 – Souq Al Aseiry
Otherwise known as the Escalator Souq, Souq Al Aseiry is relatively easy to find. When you navigate the map below the marker that Google provides is actually in the middle of an empty lot…go figure!
Souq Al Aseiry is on the opposite side of Grand Hammad Street to the popular Souq Waqif and within easy walking distance. Parking near Souq Al Aseiry isn’t always available depending on the time of day. It may be easier to park in Souq Waqif (paid parking) and walk over Grand Hammad Street.
The best entrance into Souq Al Aseiry is marked with a large blue diamond. The reason this is the best entrance is because of the cashpoint machine just inside the door. It is much easier to pay in cash than with card at each of the shops. It is also easier to haggle a discount when dealing with hard cash.
The door looks over onto the large empty lot and mosque on the other side of the road. If you walk further down the road from the ‘Blue Diamond’ door (towards the mosque, away from Souq Waqif) and turn left around the corner there is the second entrance to Souq Al Aseiry. This door leads directly to the bottom of the escalator.
Al Aseiry operates on the same opening hours as most of the souqs in Doha.
Saturday to Thursday: 8:00am-12:00pm (midday), 4:00pm-10:00pm
Friday: Closed in the morning, opens from 4:00pm-10:00pm
It seems that the best time for visiting is Saturday morning. Not only is it nice a quiet and you are more likely to get a good parking space but this also seems to be the day they receive new stock.
It is important to remember that each shop has seasonal stock, peaks and valleys in their inventory, and although one had great small prints last time you visited they may not today. Likewise a shop that had nothing of interest before may have replenished their stock. It pays to dig around as many shops as you can – you never know what you may find!
Become a valuable customer. Visit frequently, say hello and build relationships with the shops you prefer. You will be remembered and your loyalty will be rewarded with great discounts.
There is strength in numbers! Go shopping with a group of friends. Let the shops know you brought your friends with you and they will express their gratitude through discounts or some extra fabric.
Speak up! Tell them what you are looking for and they will do their best to find it for you. Sometimes they even ask you to take a seat and go to do the legwork for you, bringing you stock from other shops to look at. If you can bring a sample of a fabric you want to match for color or quality then all the better. Just ask for “same same”.
Some shops can be overwhelming with the amount of stock. Instead of digging around bolt upon bolt of fabric ask if there are fabric books available. Most shops will have catalogues of their stock so you can sit down and leaf through at leisure.
Be picky. What you are looking for is out there…don’t settle for thinner cotton just because it is the right colour. Most fabrics are so reasonably priced you can often afford to get a meter of something not-quite-right just in case. But most of the time a little more digging or pushing on to the next shop will reward you with exactly what you were needing so you are not unnecessarily adding to your stash. But, keep note of that backup fabric ‘just in case’.
Don’t be afraid to ask for “best price”. You are expected to haggle.
Take your time. Fabric souq shopping can’t be done in a rush!
Inside Souq Al Aseiry there are a good number of fabric shops (25-30ish) on the lower and upper level. Visit them all if you have the time!
Here are reviews of a few of the shops in Al Aseiry. (Please feel free to add you own reviews or experience in the comments section below):
So, just inside the entrace after the cashpoint machine your first stop should be Arafa Textiles. A man by the name Kabeer is who you want to speak to. He is friendly and helpful and gives great discounts. Arafa Textiles has a great range of prints for quilters, most of which are displayed in fabric books.
The average label price for cottons are 25-30QR but best price for regular customers can be as low as 15QR. You may need to earn this discount but it is easy to become a repeat customer at this shop!
If you pass Arafa and start heading up the stairs you want to stop on the landing half way up. To your right and in the far corner there is a hidden gem.
In a small corridor space you will find Al Safeena who provide bed sheet fabric with widths of 2.4m and come in a reasonable range of colours. These are great for quilters who are looking for backing fabrics.
At the top of the stairs you will find Lulu Fabrics. This shop is an example of building a good relationship. Lulu’s stock was in the past a quilters goldmine with great holiday and quirky prints. Although they haven’t recently had any fabrics to my particular liking the guys are brilliant. I still stop in to say hello and they are always happy to see me. I can count on them to remember what I might have been looking for. They save or order with me in mind and on more than a few occasions I have dropped by and they have pulled out the perfect fabric with my name on it. Excellent!
Next door to the right is Al-Rawdha Textiles. They have a very good range of prints in good quality cottons. They also make life easy with a great catalogue of fabric books to peruse (books pictured earlier in this post). Fabrics here are slightly more expensive as a rule but still excellent value. The quality of their cottons is also a little better than others so you get what you pay for.
Telephone: 66824678, 55208096, 55202089
This shop has a great range of good quality plain cottons and linens. They also have a nice selection of knits. The staff are very friendly and eager to work the best deal with you.
Doha Al Anwar
This shop has a great catalogue of prints and stands out as having a variety of different colour ways in the same or similar patterns.
Head downstairs to my personal favourite! Golden Rose is more pricey but stocks excellent quality fabrics, all imported from Japan. The owner is a wonderfully friendly guy and great fun to speak to. He has great knowledge of his stock and is very willing to help. The stock covers a wide range of textiles – cotton small prints for quilters, knits, silks, linens, fake furs…the works!
Coming up next…
So, that should do for now for Al Aseiry. Check back again soon for Part 2 of our Fabric Shopping Tour!