Don't be surprised when you hear seasoned travelers (and shoppers) refer to Shanghai as the "Paris of the East." While the two cities have many differences, they have much in common on the fashion front; Shanghai (like the City of Light) is a shopper’s paradise. As China's style capital, Shanghai is home to a population of insatiable shopping addicts—and the fashion landscape is primed to cater to their favorite pastime. This bustling metropolis has become one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, with all the luxury brands you are already familiar with...and then some. Expect streets lined with luxury labels, boisterous plazas, colorful open-air markets, glitzy malls and trendy unique boutiques.
The endless luxury offerings make sense once you consider the stats: more than half of the world's retail development resides in China, with 35 million square feet currently under construction in Shanghai alone. Major roads like Huaihai Road and West Nanjing Road are lined with shiny new malls—which are home to glittering flagships for key labels like Prada, Chanel and the like. Boutique luxury brands to love—like Isabel Marant and Victoria Beckham—fill the racks in department stores like Lane Crawford. In addition, expect to find edgy international shops, like 10 Corso Como and Dong Liang, curating a completely unique retail experience for their demanding clientele.
If you're heading to Shanghai, sharpen up your bargaining skills and increase your credit card limit. Warning: You may need to buy some additional suitcases at the end of your trip. Here, our expert tips to shopping this complex and exciting retail Mecca.
TIAN ZI FANG
Tian Zi Fang is a small, but exquisite, shopping maze located between Tai Kang Road and Jianguo Road in the former French Concession. This is the place to go for local finds and, if you’re in the mood, there are specialty shops featuring funky silver jewelry, Tibetan handcrafts, unique handbags, traditional Chinese qi pao dresses and plenty of other delightful shops that are bound to spark your interest. A walk down Taikang Road lets you see local Shanghai life at its best: street vendors selling pancakes, fruit and juices, kids scampering about and locals running errands. Stop into Xingmu Handicraftfor a gorgeous leather-bound notebook or Jincheng for an airy silk scarf with tons of design and color options. For a great souvenir, search for Feiyue–the ultra-hip streetwear staple dating back to 1920’s Shanghai. This lightweight canvas sneaker brand has done collaborations with Celine and are fan favorites of Miranda Kerr and Reese Witherspoon. Insider tip: They are only 99 RMB in Shanghai, which is equivalent to about $15.00.