A Stitch in Time: How to Navigate Shanghai's Fabric Market

A Stitch in Time: How to Navigate Shanghai's Fabric Market

Shanghai is a shopper’s paradise. Her streets are branded with labels in both boisterous plazas and glossy boutiques, but the blaring billboards and bright lights overshadow striking examples of real craftsmanship. The fabric market is popular destination for expats from both in and out of town. But navigating your way through the myriad stalls can be tricky. Thanks to this handy little guide, you’ll now know which are worthy of your time.

Is one fabric market better than another?

Yes. With three levels of cloth, clothes and coats, The South Bund Soft Spinning Material Markets 南外滩轻纺面料市场 is the place to go and have your new clothes made. There are literally hundreds of retailers; and though it is well layed out, it’s also easy to get lost!

The South Bund Soft Spinning Material Markets 南外滩轻纺面料市场View In Map
Add: 399 Lujiabang Lu, Huanpu District, Shanghai 黄浦区陆家浜路399号(近南仓街)
Opening Hours: 09.00-18.00

How long will it take to have an item of clothing made?

The whole process typically takes one week from measurements to collection. Sometimes adjustments are needed, hence a fitting mid-way through, so be patient. Adjustments should be part of the costed price and you’ll be sure to have a wonderful new outfit at the end of it!

How do I know which stall to go to?
Choosing the right tailor is crucial! Always go by recommendations as it is simply not worth getting it wrong! Use our list to navigate your way through the markets – it will help you find the right people for the right job and of course the right price!

Tailor- made suit prices starting at 600 RMB are an obvious choice for any business-person. The costs are based on quality of the fabric, the specific details in the design, and the choice of fabric lining. It is best to have your existing suits copied – it makes it easier for the tailor and easier for you not having to design and describe all of its intricacies – “Were there two slits at the back or one? Hmmm.” You have to leave your suit, as they will use it to copy and construct your new suit. If this is a problem they can draw a loose sketch or use designs they have. Yi Tian Ting is one of the better tailors in the market; his suits cost between 600-800 RMB and he may throw in a shirt (usually 100-130 RMB) if you’re lucky! His store is easy to find, on the third floor, immediately as you ascend the escalators.

Add: Level 3, Shop 383

As winter is fast approaching, rug up with a beautiful new coat, one that will make you stand out from the mass-produced consumer brands. You can use pictures from magazines or download designs off the Internet to have images copied. Lin Fen is the coat connoisseur; her items are well- made and inexpensive with prices starting at 700 RMB for a 100% cashmere coat! You can choose a sexy silk lining from the silk concessions for that little bit of flair.

Add: Level 3, Shop 332

Fur and Leather Jackets
If you’re looking for something more luxurious, a fur coat will always be the ultra glamorous winter companion. Fur fashion does not come cheap, though it does range quite dramatically in price, with mink coats starting at 8000 RMB and rabbit coats from 2000RMB. The Fat Guy Furriery has a great range of fur and leather products. If the coats are too much, you can always pick up some rabbit fur earmuffs for only 60 RMB!

Add: Level 3, Shop 353 

Dresses and Skirts
One of the best things about the fabric market is having your favourite pieces copied. With your ‘dress’ in hand you should first chose the fabric; not an easy task with so many shops and so many fabrics! Wander through and take your time looking, touching and feeling, wrap yourself in the materials and have a bit of fun! When you’ve found ‘the one’ you can purchase the material by the metre then go to one of our recommended dressmakers to have your ‘dress’ copied. The dressmakers will take your measurements and take your ‘dress’ to copy and build your new one. Nancy’s Shop, is a tiny narrow inlet, perhaps no bigger than your closet! She is the best dressmaker around and the perfect person for getting stuff copied and, if you’re game, creating wonderful new designs. Dresses start from 200 RMB, with skirts going for 130 RMB and up. You’ll ecognize her store by the coats hanging at the entrance, and the manikin in a toga, but rest assured – she is the dress lady!

Add: Level 2, Shop 252 B

Xu Hong Ya is who to see about a lining for your new suit or coat The store is easy to find, on the corner, with an open shop front with reams of fabric piled up to chest height high! Silk is sold by the metre, starting from 35 RMB for the cheapest variety.

Add: Level 3, Shop 383

This list would hardly be complete without everyone’s favourite wardrobe essential! Cheng Bin and Shu Mei’s copybooks maybe years out of date, but this is still the place for jeans! Bring your old fading pair to be copied and have a search through the sample denims to find that ‘blue jean baby’. Prices start at 140 RMB.

Add: Level 3, Shop 340

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