Making Trails

the travel blog of Lauren Nishizaki

Fabric Market


The English name on the outside of this three story building is the South Bund Soft Spinning Material Market. The three story talk building consists of aisles of stalls, each manned by a different shopkeeper and specializing in different types of clothes. Tailored clothes such as jackets, coats, button up shirts, and suits are very popular, as well as dresses: everyday casual, business, evening, and qipao, traditional Chinese dresses. The shopkeepers sell goods, make measurements, and perform any required fittings. They contract work with outside tailors. There are some pre-made items being sold, including scarves, belts, skirts, and bags. One of the scarf sellers that we returned to had a wide range of silk and wool scarves, including silk-merino blends, pashmina, and varying qualities and weaves of silk.

It’s very easy to spend lots of money here, and I always ended up making unexpected purchases when I visited, except for the first time I went there with Jake. I picked up several scarves (may or may not be a thinner and cheaper silk, the shopkeeper said they were), two skirts (one of which was custom made and therefore required me to return the following weekend), a belt, several silk camisoles, and several more scarves, including a silk design that is better suited for evening wear. All told, I had five items custom made: three shirts (one short sleeve, two long sleeve), a gray wool blazer, and a red skirt (possibly for dancing).

Except for rainy days, people sell Tibetan handcrafted jewelry on the sidewalk outside the fabric market. The woman I purchased a necklace from had a very strong accent and was from a village in Tibet (I learned this through Wenrui).

The fabric market is located about a ten minute walk from the Nanpu Bridge metro station. Nanpu Bridge connects Pudong (Shanghai, eastern side of the river) and Puxi (Shanghai, western side of the river). The white bridge contains some red writing. The passage was written by one of China’s chairmen, and apparently he was very short. There is a tall tale that the bridge’s characters are missing a stroke at the top because he was too short to reach.

There is a cafe across from the fabric market that I ate at a total of three or four times because of its convenient location.