Hit the Runway: Affordable Fashion in Hangzhou

Hit the Runway: Affordable Fashion in Hangzhou
By Kevin Sundeen , eChinacities.com

Given that one of Hangzhou’s major industries has historically been silk and other textiles, it should come as no surprise that for the fashion conscious, Hangzhou is one of the premier cities in China. It used to be that you had to bring your high-fashion stuff from your home country, or else get it custom tailored here, if you weren’t blessed with Chinese proportions. But as Hangzhou grows into a truly international metropolis, more and more foreign labels are setting up shop with clothes that even my fat butt fits into. And it’s not just the Euro-street with five-thousand dollar T-shirts either—with very little effort you can find affordable and fashionable clothing. So next time you go out, you have no excuse to look like a slob.

1) Me & CityView In Map
There are a couple Me & City locations throughout Hangzhou, but right in the heart of downtown, the Me & City on Yan’an Lu and Fengqi Lu boasts three floors of sartorial options. A floor and a half is devoted to women’s clothing, as expected, but the men’s section is no less well appointed. Me & City’s style is relatively Western given that the label is Chinese; they stick to muted colours and the patterns aren’t usually too loud. The suits look nice but maybe a bit snug for really formal occasions. You will generally find something in your size, although the average Westerner will be on the large end of that spectrum. Keep in mind that with the higher prices (especially for the women’s shoes) generally comes quality.

Add: 460 Yan’an Lu, Shangcheng District, Hangzhou
Opening hours: Daily, 09:30-22:00
Getting there: Buses 5, 13, 14, 21, 72, 78, 199, 201, 219, 301, 537, to Yan’an Road Station (延安路口‎)

2) Lixing mallView In Map
Lixing Mall is chock full of Western clothing labels. It boasts downtown’s biggest Uniqlo, which is a Japanese brand. Uniqlo’s aesthetic is like a Japanese version of American Apparel: expect will find a lot of bright and solid-colored T-shirts, tank tops and the like, as well as some really great thermal undershirts for when it’s snowing and your heater is broken. If you’re into that kind of thing you can also find T-shirts festooned mostly with Naruto and Gundam Warriors graphics. The popular and inexpensive European label H&M just moved into this mall as well, and H&M definitely stocks stuff in your size. The formalwear here is quite good—I myself have been spotted on occasion in one of their suits—and won’t leave you looking under the couch cushions for spare change to afford it. They also have entire racks devoted to sale items that are 100 RMB or less. Here you can grab some really nice stuff on the cheap, although it will probably be out of season. Women in search of something modern and trendy and not covered in lace or prints of teddy bears will also be pleased to find a Zara store too. Of course, if you think you bought a size too big at any of these places you can always go to the Coldstone Creamery for some ice cream to fill out your new outfit (or burst your new H&M skinny jeans like a cooked sausage).

Add: 124 Pinghai Road Shangcheng District, Hangzhou
Tel: 571 8713 1505
Opening hours: Daily, 10:00-22:00
Getting there: Buses Y2, 7, 12, 25, 60, 850 to Dongpo Lu and Pinghai Lu 东坡路平海路口‎

3) Season’s SquareView In Map
If you’re on the west side of town and can’t be asked to haul yourself downtown, you could try Season’s Square. It’s been renovated recently and while there are a lot of Chinese labels, especially on the first floor, you’ll find some bigger labels like Adidas and Nike there, although they aren’t too big and thus the selection isn’t always the best. However, there is a Me & City outpost here, although it strangely seems to be for the guys only. The other highlight is the Esprit store, which is about what you’d expect from the label in terms of price and fashion.

Add: 551 West Wen’er Road West Lake District Hangzhou
地址: 杭州市西湖区文二西路551号
Opening hours: Daily, 10:00-21:00
Getting there: Bus 332, K89, K194 to Wen’er Xi Lu Kou (文二西路路口)


4) Wulin Road View In Map
If you’re willing to risk the disappointment/embarrassment/shame/indignation of being told you aren’t allowed to try something on because the shop assistants are afraid you’ll bust through it like the incredible hulk or something, then Wulin Lu is a veritable beehive of fashionable boutiques in which patience will be rewarded with some satisfying finds. It’s lined with smaller Chinese labels, and while the majority caters to Chinese women, there are definitely plenty for options for men. Prices aren’t too bad and with some decent negotiation skills you could maybe knock off 10%. Maybe it is not a regular haunt, but certainly a good place to take visitors to Hangzhou.

Add: Wulin Lu, Hangzhou
Getting there: Bus 12, 13, 14, 26, 55, 56, 151, 279, 301, 316, 537, 801, to Wulin Square (武林小广场‎) 

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Keywords: Affordable and fashionable clothes Hangzhou western style clothes Hangzhou clothes shopping Hangzhou big clothing sizes Hangzhou


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