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.
SOUTH BUND FABRIC MARKET
Imagine a place where hundreds of tailors and all the fabrics you could ever imagine are all under one roof, ready and waiting for you to come in and ask for your wildest clothing dream to come true. In Shanghai, that’s the South Bund fabric market, where custom-made clothing is king. Custom suiting is at the top of the list for locals stopping in, with bespoke menswear and tailored womenswear available at many tailoring stalls. But wait, there’s more; Xu Shumei (Stall 340) is a no-fuss denim specific stall with various bolts of stretch to paper denim. David (Stall 138) is worth a visit for tailored outerwear, while Miss Xu (Stall 300) boats an infinite stock of silk which she cuts into blouses, dresses and just about anything you can imagine. If you shop smart, you can walk out of the fabric mart with an entire seasonal wardrobe custom cut, made and ready to go for less than a shopping spree at Zara.