Everybody in Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate recognises the 'woman' in a red Chinese wedding dress adorned with hand-stitched phoenixes. 'I'm married to her,' jokes Lam Mou-chung, owner of Ka Lai Stitching Store, referring to his mannequin. 'She's been with me for 32 years.' Mr Lam, 67, has been running this traditional tailor shop since 1977 in Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate after moving from the mainland to Hong Kong. But now, after years of dwindling sales due to a lack of interest in traditional tailor-made clothes and the like, his store is poised to close. The estate will be demolished next month to make way for a new one. Mr Lam started out as an apprentice, learning to sew bed quilts, use a sewing machine and fix traditional wedding dresses. Working 9am to 10pm every day, it took him 10 years to master all the tools of the trade. Today, his 340-sq-ft store showcases pink pillowcases machine-stitched with traditional phoenixes and Mandarin ducks - now rarely seen in Hong Kong department stores. The shop also sells bed covers, quilts, bamboo mats and even suitcases. But the star of the show is still his 'wife'. 'She symbolises [the fact] that the shop sells traditional wedding dresses,' says Mr Lam in a thick Chiu Chow accent. 'She has earned some big money for me.' Back in the late 1970s, his business soared just a year after opening, thanks to Vietnamese refugees fleeing a newly unified - and Communist - Vietnam. 'They flocked to my store to buy suitcases and clothes because they were moving overseas,' Mr Lam says. 'They needed the gear to emigrate.' Through abundant referrals from the refugees, Mr Lam's business boomed. 'Everything here is 20 per cent cheaper than in the big department stores,' he adds. For example, a traditional wedding dress used to rent for around HK$400 to HK$600 in the old days, compared to HK$1,000 in big stores, he says. Now the price of renting a wedding dress is even cheaper - HK$280 for three days, and there is no shortage of dresses to choose from. But even at such bargain prices, very few people rent the dresses. For young people, Mr Lam says, they are too old-fashioned, and the elderly rarely need wedding dresses. 'It's bad. This district is ageing, and the young couples love western wedding dresses,' he says. Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate will be demolished next month under the Comprehensive Redevelopment Programme launched by the Housing Authority. 'I won't be running this shop any more and, even if I could, I wouldn't be selling hand-stitched wedding dresses,' Mr Lam says. He says the rental costs at the new estate will be 10 times higher than at present, making it impossible to carry on. 'I'm going to miss this store a lot,' he says. 'Ngau Tau Kok is where I got on my feet when I came from the mainland.' And what will he do about his 'wife'? 'She will live with me in my place!' he says with a chuckle.