Saturday, September 22, 2012

Shanghai Fabric Market

I can't believe that in the almost two months that I've been living in Shanghai, I haven't visited the fabric market!  I trekked down there (line 4, Nanpu Bridge) on Saturday to see what it was all about.  If I had a sewing machine I would've gone nuts over the bolts and bolts of every fabric imaginable, but I was mostly interested in having some clothes made.

I didn't take many pictures inside because some of the shop owners get weird and defensive when you try.  I wandered through the three floors of clothing shops for about two hours feeling fabrics, looking at samples, and haggling.  Most of the stores have books with sample pictures to look at, and some have clothes that you can try on.  I ended up ordering two loose, open-front jersey knit cardigans from store #210, and a black jersey skirt from #341.  Both of the shop owners that I worked with quickly took my measurements and were great about noting any changes that I wanted.  I think most of the shop owners speak English, which is helpful.  We'll see if I'm as impressed with the stores when I go to pick up my clothes next week!

Clothing samples in store #210

After exploring the fabric market, we wandered outside and headed north on Lujiabang Lu, just to explore.  I thought this area was so much more interesting than the fabric market itself.  

All of the buildings were really run down, but the neighborhood was so busy and vibrant.  It seemed to be an extension of the fabric market, with tailor shops and fabric warehouses, but there were plenty of other types of stores along the same street.

I was so tempted to buy fabric at this store, but I wouldn't know where to begin.  I don't think that any of the shop owners spoke English, as we were the only foreigners in the area.  I'll need to brush up on my Chinese sewing terms!

Unfortunately, it seems like this whole neighborhood will be torn down soon to make room for more high rises like the ones in the background above.  It's these kinds of places that are the most interesting to visit though, because you really get a feel for the city.  I guess I'll need to go back soon to stock up on buttons and zippers!

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